Vancouver Park Board backs new $500 fine for feeding urban wildlife

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Park Board considers tougher bylaws governing feeding of wildlife in Stanley Park'
Vancouver Park Board considers tougher bylaws governing feeding of wildlife in Stanley Park
The Vancouver Park Board is considering tougher bylaws and fines for people who directly or indirectly feed wildlife like coyotes in Stanley Park. Grace Ke reports – Sep 27, 2021

Members of the Vancouver Park Board approved a draft bylaw amendment Monday evening that would imposes a $500 fine for feeding urban wildlife.

The proposal comes after months of reported coyote attacks in Stanley Park, and a public messaging campaign urging visitors to stop leaving out food that attracts animals.

“It is physically unhealthy for animals, and encourages food-conditioning that can lead to aggressive (behaviour),” says a report summary provided to the board.

READ MORE: Vancouver parks director confident Stanley Park is ‘safe,’ but visitors urged to stay vigilant

As it stands, the B.C. Wildlife Act includes provisions against feeding “dangerous wildlife,” but that does not extend to other urban wild animals.

Current bylaws ban leaving food anywhere in parks apart from in garbage bins, but the amendment specifically includes feeding or attempting to feed animals and leaving food or grain out for them.

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The amended bylaw still needs another round of approval to take effect, which could happen as soon as Oct. 4 at the next Vancouver Park Board meeting.

Members of the board are also expected to discuss potentially increasing the $500 fine, expanding the definition of wildlife and methods of enforcement.

Parks staff say they’ve used staff monitoring, active removal of scraps, public education and signage. Those methods, however, appear to be falling short.

Click to play video: 'City of Vancouver on decision to reopen Stanley Park after two week closure'
City of Vancouver on decision to reopen Stanley Park after two week closure

“The Stanley Park Ecology Society, City of Vancouver, Park Board, and Provincial Conservation Officers Service receive ongoing reports of wildlife feeding in parks, including hand feeding and depositing large amounts of domestic animal or human food on the ground with the intention of feeding wildlife,” reads the report that went before the board on Monday night.

“In some observed cases, this behaviour seems to be for the purpose of taking close-up wildlife photographs.”

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READ MORE: Three more Stanley Park coyote attacks reported, two involving 4-year-old children

Click to play video: 'Vigil at Stanley Park condemns culling of coyotes'
Vigil at Stanley Park condemns culling of coyotes

Stanley Park reopened to visitors last week after a temporary closure during which four coyotes were culled.

Seven problematic animals had been previously removed, and the remaining coyotes aren’t expected to cause any problems, Amit Gandha, acting director of parks, told Global News last week.

At least 45 coyote attacks had been reported since December, five of which involved children.

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