The city said Monday an “unusually bold and aggressive coyote” in northwest Calgary that is responsible for multiple attacks on humans will be killed.
The latest attack was on a woman in her 60s who was bitten by the animal on Saturday. EMS took her from the 200 block of Nolanhurst Place N.W. to hospital with soft-tissue injuries.
Mason Hender, president of the Nolan Hill Community Association, said residents are concerned for their safety.
“We see coyotes quite a bit here. This is kind of the first time I’ve heard of any attacks in this area, so the attacks are definitely out of the ordinary but coyotes are not,” he said.
‘Permanently remove the dangerous animal’
Since May 26, the city said Calgary Parks contractors have conducted frequent coyote hazing exercises — techniques that teach the coyote to associate humans with loud noises and other unpleasant experiences in an attempt to change the animal’s behaviour — in Nolan Hills.
After receiving an increase in 311 calls about “aggressive incidents from a single coyote,” contractors increased their presence in the area with daily visits since June 13.
But hazing did not work.
“Relocation options were explored but this process cannot be carried out in a timely manner and would only result in moving the problem elsewhere,” the city said Monday afternoon.
“In the interest of public safety, the decision has been made to permanently remove the dangerous animal. As the coyote is active and moves frequently, the removal will likely take place off of city land.”
The city confirmed that means the animal will be killed.
At Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Joe Magliocca asked what can be done to prevent coyote attacks in his ward.
Katie Black, general manager of community services, explained how contractors were working in the area and advised residents to call 311 to report coyote encounters and sightings.
“We have come across instances of residents who are actually feeding coyotes meat or leaving them water, and that, of course, is not helpful,” she said.
“We really need to discourage that behaviour because it leads to unwanted behaviour from the coyotes. They will absolutely come around if they think there might be food or water for them.”
Be aware of your surroundings
Gregory Hartzler, chief of staff for Magliocca, echoed Black’s comments, saying the city hired contractors approximately three weeks ago.
“The contractors are currently in Nolan Hill between six and 10 hours a day looking and tracking this coyote,” he said, adding that residents should leave it to the professionals.
“We’re sorry that people have been bit, and to all three people that have had bites, we hope that they have a speedy recovery. But at the end of the day, it really does come down to people need to be very cognizant of their surroundings and what’s happening.”
Different things can become attractants to coyotes, Hartzler said.
“The other big problem that we have in Nolan Hill is a lot of people walking their dogs off-leash, and then with the off-leash comes the additional problem of not picking up after your dog,” he said.
‘Out of nowhere’
Nicole Au was bitten by a coyote in northwest Calgary on June 11. She called the experience surreal, noting it could have been worse.
“From out of nowhere behind, it just grabbed my leg, pulled and pulled and pulled. By the time I turned around, I realized then at that point, that’s when it was the coyote,” she said Monday.
“As I just tried to kick it off, it just kept getting deeper and deeper, the bite. It wouldn’t want to let go and literally, it happened so fast it just eventually flew off and took off down the street.”
What to do in a coyote encounter
The city said in a June 15 Facebook post: “Despite unfortunate recent events involving an unusually bold and aggressive coyote in northwest Calgary, coyotes are usually not dangerous to people and play a valuable role in our ecosystem.”
Humans can live alongside coyotes if people don’t approach or feed them, kids are always supervised, dogs are on leashes and cats don’t roam, according to the city.
If a coyote acts aggressively, don’t run away; instead, try to scare the animal by making noise and back away slowly while maintaining eye contact.