The public safety risk from coyotes has been neutralized in Stanley Park, says Vancouver’s acting director of parks, but visitors should keep an eye on the woods and refrain from leaving food behind.
The park reopened Tuesday after an extended closure due to aggressive coyotes, even though only a portion of the animals had been trapped and killed.
“There are coyotes still in the park,” Amit Gandha told Global News. “It’s a very (limited) number, but the ones that are left in the park didn’t display the similar habits or challenges the other ones raised.”
Four coyotes were captured and “lethally removed” in an active trapping initiative launched earlier this month. Seven had been previously removed, said Gandha, and the remaining animals are not anticipated to cause any problems.
The Vancouver Park Board is still urging the public not to feed wildlife or leave food behind, and while there are no more overnight closures, visits between dusk and dawn are discouraged.
“We feel confident the park is safe, but again, always monitor your surroundings,” Gandha said.
The city and province initially estimated 35 problematic coyotes roamed Stanley Park, but data collected in recent weeks suggests the number is actually lower, he added.
Now, the focus is on changing human behaviour.
“We think sometimes whether we go to a restaurant and we leave our food, it’s a good thing we’re not wasting food,” said Gandha. “Those little things continue to build up and add and coyotes, they learn these habits.”
Park Board staff are reviewing bylaws to clarify and update municipal park restrictions regarding feeding wildlife. A pilot program is also underway that involves the installation of “wildlife-proof” garbage bins.
According to a recent poll by Insights West, the decision to capture and cull coyotes in the park is supported by 71 per cent of Vancouver residents and 59 per cent of B.C. residents.
The initiative has not gone without controversy, however, and its opponents held a vigil for the slain coyotes last week.
–With files from Jon Azpiri