CSI Stanley Park? Officials borrow crime-fighting tactics in bid to solve coyote attacks

Click to play video: 'Coyote attacks in Stanley Park leads to calls for more action' Coyote attacks in Stanley Park leads to calls for more action
With coyote attacks in Stanley Park now in the dozens, there are more calls for the Vancouver Park Board to take stronger action, including against some people. Aaron McArthur reports. – Aug 19, 2021

Wildlife experts are taking a page from police and forensic experts as they work to get a handle on a surge of coyote attacks in the city’s largest green space.

Dozens of people have been attacked or bitten in the park since December, including five in recent days, and officials have killed six of the animals believed to have become aggressive.

Read more: 69-year-old man latest victim of coyote attack in Stanley Park

On Thursday, the Stanley Park Ecology Society provided an update on initiatives to solve the problem.

The society and UBC have deployed trail cameras throughout the park in an effort to identify individual coyotes, along with possible sources for their unusual behaviour and triggers for the attacks.

Click to play video: 'Five-year-old boy attacked by coyote in Prospect Point' Five-year-old boy attacked by coyote in Prospect Point
Five-year-old boy attacked by coyote in Prospect Point – Aug 11, 2021

What’s more, when suspect coyotes are captured following an attack, the BC Conservation Officer Service has been employing a technique one might find in a crime lab.

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“Captured coyotes have their teeth measured to create a bite profile which can be used to identify individuals and match them to a bite incident,” the society said.

Read more: 5-year-old bitten by coyote at Stanley Park

“If the captured coyote does not match the profile of the offending animal, it is tagged and released.”

The society acknowledged the situation was “very challenging,” and that it may be some time before “things get back to normal.”

In the interim, it is reminding people never to feed wildlife, or to leave food out in a place where animals could find it.

Click to play video: '2-year-old attacked by coyote in Stanley Park' 2-year-old attacked by coyote in Stanley Park
2-year-old attacked by coyote in Stanley Park – Jul 14, 2021

It’s also urging people to respect park closures, and to stay away from Stanley Park from dusk to dawn, when coyotes are most active.

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Kids should be kept close in the park, and animals should be kept on a leash.

Read more: Four coyotes euthanized after toddler attacked in Stanley Park

Anyone who encounters a coyote should face the animal and try to scare it away with loud noises. The group has also provided instructions on how to create “hazing material” to frighten coyotes away.

Anyone who witnesses someone feeding a coyote is urged to report it here, and anyone who has an aggressive coyote encounter can report it to wildlife officials at 1-877-952-7277.

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