City of Calgary defends approach to dealing with problem coyotes

Signs in Panorama Hills  warn residents to be cautious of coyotes. .
Signs in Panorama Hills warn residents to be cautious of coyotes. . Global News

A City of Calgary official said he believes its approach to problem coyotes in northwest Calgary is working.

The city has come under fire for not relocating or culling the animals after it closed a park in Panorama Hills about a month ago.

READ MORE: Coyotes in Calgary ‘possibly aggressive’ during denning season, warn city officials

Chris Manderson, Calgary’s urban conservation lead, said the province doesn’t allow the animals to be moved as it could create new problems.

“If we take our problem coyotes and we send them to our neighbours, they’re not going to like that.”

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“So really, what it comes down to is, if we have a problem coyote and we need to deal with that animal, we really have two choices,” Manderson said. “We try to remove the source of the conflict or we kill it.”

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After the animals bit at least one person and killed a pet dog in the northwest green space, city officials closed the park to give the coyotes some space while they were denning near a park pathway.

READ MORE: Continued coyote sightings prompts city to close Calgary park

“We’ve been watching the animals pretty closely since then to see what’s going on,” Manderson said. “They’ve actually moved now, so we’re feeling a lot more comfortable that initial conflict is gone.”

Manderson said it’s not unusual for coyotes to move between two or more dens after pups are born. Now that they have moved, the city can take steps to discourage the animals from returning to the path area.

“We’re going to go in and close off that den. That won’t absolutely prevent them from coming back, but what we do is make it clear they’re, maybe, not so welcome there.”

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Although the park remains closed, city officials are increasingly confident the trouble is past.

“We saw some aggressive behaviour in the adults; we’re looking to see if that’s changed. The jury is still out on that, but it’s been quite encouraging that we’re seeing what we would expect, like shy behaviour from the adults now that the pressure is off,” Manderson said.

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