Coyote attack prompts partial closure of Calgary’s Fish Creek park

Click to play video: 'Coyote attack prompts partial closure of Calgary’s Fish Creek park' Coyote attack prompts partial closure of Calgary’s Fish Creek park
An area of Calgary's Fish Creek Provincial Park is off limits after two aggressive coyotes went after a man and his dog. Park users are being told to avoid the area after the encounter. Jill Croteau has more – May 27, 2022

A portion of Canada’s second-largest urban park was closed due to a coyote attack.

The closure in Calgary went in place on Thursday after authorities said “aggressive coyotes attacked a dog and park user.”

Alberta Environment and Parks said the attack happened at about 9:30 a.m. that morning.

“One of the coyotes approached and bit the dog and the owner intervened, fending off using a stick,” conservation officer Brian Ferguson told Global News.

Read more: Suspected ‘aggressive’ coyote shot and killed after some residents bitten, Toronto police say

“Coyotes look at other dogs as a threat. If people are walking – especially off leash – they could perceive dogs as a threat to their territory.”

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The province of Alberta shut down part of Fish Creek Provincial Park near the Parkland neighbourhood, from Parkside Green S.E. to Parkvista Crescent S.E. The closure did not include the Bow Valley Ranche or the park’s visitor centre.

The closure includes trails and will be in effect until further notice.

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

Area residents say coyotes are a familiar sight in that part of the park.

“I’ve seen so many, we are weary of it,” Sharon Newman said. “I have dogs. I avoid (coyotes). I cross the road and ignore them.”

“Late at night would be pushing it, going out,” Gwen Walsh said. “Living here as long as I have, I’ve heard them up on this ridge and I would cross the road and go close to someone’s house.”

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A University of Calgary geology professor said short-term closures of areas are a useful and widely-used approach for de-escalation of human-coyote interactions and for assessing the situation.

“This time of year coyotes are moving pups from their natal den and it’s a normal time to see a rise in events where coyotes perceive the need to protect very vulnerable pups from dogs.” Shelley Alexander told Global News.

The province reminds pet owners to keep their pets on a leash within two metres at all times when walking and to clean up after their pets.

Albertans are reminded to never feed coyotes, which look like a cross between a fox and a small dog, with narrow nose, large ears and a bushy tail.

Fish Creek Park stretches 19 kilometres from east to west and has more than 80 kilometres of pathways.

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