The City of Montreal is taking all necessary steps to track down a coyote that is believed attacked three young children in the past week, Montreal’s mayor said Monday.
Valérie Plante told reporters Monday the city is working with a private firm contracted to track and bait coyotes — in particular those animals that might be sick and can become problematic or aggressive.
In the wake of last week’s attacks, the city has installed cameras and bait and increased the presence of city workers in the north-end borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville where the incidents occurred.
Three children, two boys and a girl all five and under, were treated for minor injuries after coming across the wild animals.
Plante said simply removing them from the island won’t work.
“The coyotes are here, we can’t just get rid of them,” Plante said. “It would just create more problems and they would just come back.”
WATCH BELOW: Coyotes bite 3 children in separate incidents: Montreal police
The city launched a coyote management program earlier this year amid a marked rise in the number of sightings — about 600 in just under a year.
Montreal joined other major Canadian cities in introducing a coyote hotline this year, allowing people to call in if they see one of the animals.
Although coyotes have been a part of the city’s landscape for decades, the number of sightings in residential areas has increased greatly.
Coyotes are generally fearful of humans and have a nocturnal lifestyle. They are not generally aggressive, and it’s unclear what triggers their attacks.
The city’s plan is to educate the population about co-existing with the animals and to intervene only to manage problematic coyote cases.
But that plan isn’t sitting well with everyone.
“They’re crazy. It’s a joke,” Giovanna Giancaspro told Global News.
“No. I cannot get used to living with a coyote. I’m sorry, I walk at night and it’s scary if I think I can encounter a coyote.”
Giancaspro says she and her friends have been discussing what to bring to stay safe when they go out for a walk.
“We’re going to bring the bigger dog, we’ll bring a spray,” she said. “What are we going to do? We are going to have to defend ourselves if something happens and I don’t think we should be defending ourselves.”
Giancaspro feels the coyotes don’t belong in urban parks and the city should come up with a better solution.
Giancaspro has even started a Facebook group for like-minded individuals.
WATCH BELOW: Montreal sets up coyote sighting hotline
In the meantime, officials are warning citizens not to feed or approach the animals; keep pets on a leash while walking in parks; and to back away slowly, keep calm and maintain eye contact if one is encountered.
If the creature behaves aggressively, the city suggests making an effort to appear as big as possible and scare the animal away by throwing things in its direction without striking it.