The City of Montreal has set up a hotline for people to report coyote sightings and is preparing a plan to deal with the animals.
Émilie Thuillier, the mayor of a Montreal borough and the city’s spokesperson on the coyote issue, says their presence near inhabited areas must be taken seriously.
She says there have been 379 sightings on the island of Montreal since last June, but that there is no indication how many different coyotes might be involved.
Thuillier did say that if there are 10 reported sightings in one day, it is usually the same coyote that’s been seen.
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Coyotes live in many of the city’s large parks and usually wander along railway tracks that pass through residential areas, she added.
Experts agree that coyotes are generally afraid of humans and are aggressive in only a few cases.
Thuillier said there have been five incidents since last June involving aggressive coyotes that snapped at a person and nipped at their pants. Nobody was hurt.
There have also been 10 cases of dogs being bitten, with one dying.
Some of the attacks were in her northeastern borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
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Montrealers will be able to call 438-872-COYO (2696) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week, to obtain information or report coyote sightings.
A committee that was formed in February is organizing information sessions in daycare centres, patrols in various urban parks and door-to-door visits in one particular area where the animal has been seen.
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Thuillier said a number of other Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver and Niagara Falls, Ont., also have coyote hotlines.