Coyote euthanized in Mill Creek Ravine after increase in aggressive behaviour

Click to play video: 'Coyote put down in Mill Creek Ravine after spike in aggressive behaviour'
Coyote put down in Mill Creek Ravine after spike in aggressive behaviour
A coyote believed to be responsible for several attacks on pets in southeast Edmonton was euthanized Thursday night in Mill Creek Ravine. Sarah Ryan reports. – Sep 16, 2022

A large, male coyote was euthanized Thursday evening in Mill Creek Ravine, a City of Edmonton spokesperson confirmed.

Park ranger peace officers responded to the area and, with the help of a contractor, euthanized the animal.

The area was closed off to the public for about 90 minutes.

“We believe we have removed the coyote primarily responsible for the recent attacks,” city spokesperson Mark Torjusen told Global News on Friday.

The area will be patrolled for the next several days and people are encouraged to report any further incidents to 311.

Read more: Aggressive coyotes attacking dogs in Mill Creek Ravine, south Edmonton

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Liz Curry lives right on the banks of the ravine and heard something going on Thursday night.

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“It bothers me that they’re coming in with the guns and the contractor. I did hear a shot last night so I assumed they got one,” she said.

“That disturbed me last night… It was a last choice. I hope so.”

She said she’s seen coyotes while walking her two dogs but they’ve always kept their distance.

Curry thinks the city could have been more proactive.

“The coyote problem has been around for more than just the past two weeks, so put up the signs then… Make people aware.”

She’s also heard about the city’s concerns that someone might be intentionally feeding the coyotes.

“I think it’s silly. I’ve talked to people who know who’s doing it. Find that person. Get on her case; not the coyotes. They’re only coming because she’s feeding them.”

Click to play video: 'Why are coyotes in Mill Creek so bold?'
Why are coyotes in Mill Creek so bold?

On Wednesday, the city said in the past week, park ranger peace officers have received five complaints of coyote activity in the Mill Creek area and adjacent neighbourhoods.

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Four of the complaints involved coyote encounters with dogs, including a small dog that suffered serious injuries.

Read more: Urban coyotes becoming audacious in Edmonton, how to deter them

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Devon Peterson used to walk his dog in the area almost every night but stopped after their own close encounter.

“Pancake and I were out in the park in Mill Creek. It was Sunday, Aug. 14. It was around 6 or 6:30. The park wasn’t too terribly busy and when we got to a section of the park where we were alone, a coyote came out of nowhere.

“It surprised both of us. It got pretty close to Pancake. It snapped near her. She was luckily fast enough to dodge it and she took off right out of the park.”

But the coyote followed them, Peterson said, past a field of people and dogs.

“It ran at us. It tried to run behind me and I chased it off.

“When I was holding her, it definitely got up to me and tried to get around me. It was fearless.”

He said it was terrifying and they haven’t been back to the park since.

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“It’s one thing for a coyote to jump out. It’s another for it to be that relentless and not see you or other people as a deterrent.”

Hearing that a coyote was euthanized makes Peterson feel a bit safer.

“We’re really hopeful to get back into the park and walk through it again like we used to.

“It’s sad that killing the coyote was the response that had to happen,” Peterson said. “At the same time, it would have been terrible to leave these incidents ongoing.”

Click to play video: 'Coyote put down in Mill Creek Ravine after spike in aggressive behaviour'
Coyote put down in Mill Creek Ravine after spike in aggressive behaviour

A woman who lives in Avonemore, at the far south end of the Mill Creek Ravine, told Global News a coyote even approached her children playing in the yard at the end of August.

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“It was slowly creeping up on my son, who was playing with the Hot Wheels track,” Crystal Benoit said.

“I could see him kind of in stealth mode.”

She was able to chase the animal away, but her family was still shaken and nervous.

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton posts warnings about aggressive coyotes in Mill Creek ravine'
City of Edmonton posts warnings about aggressive coyotes in Mill Creek ravine

Aggressive coyote behaviour is on the rise in parts of Edmonton, according to area residents and those who monitor the animals’ behaviour.

Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta and head of the Edmonton Urban Coyote Project, said there has been an increase in coyote encounters reported to their database over the past month and it hasn’t been restricted to the Mill Creek Ravine.

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“I have seen an unusually high number of encounters with coyotes across the city, and most of these involve pets — both cats and dogs.”

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Coyote complaints to the city’s 311 line in the first seven months of 2022 (the most recent data) were higher than in the previous five years before that.

The city is asking residents to be vigilant and to reduce potential negative encounters with coyotes by walking dogs on leashes, keeping cats indoors and removing all food sources from their properties.

Click to play video: 'Investigation continues into coyote attack in south Edmonton park'
Investigation continues into coyote attack in south Edmonton park

When asked why the coyote was euthanized instead of trapped and relocated, the city said that option is “extremely time-consuming and expensive” and usually results in “a learned coyote; one that is very difficult or impossible to trap in the future,” Torjusen said.

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Trapping a single coyote can take weeks, a city spokesperson told Global News, and may or may not be successful.

Relocating coyotes, especially if they’re a safety risk to humans, is not humane, effective or responsible, the city added.

“It can potentially put others at risk as the behaviour will most likely continue or worsen as the animal may become desperate upon release into territory where it is not familiar with sources of food or shelter.

“If a coyote’s behaviour is habituated and aggressive towards people, then the best course of action is euthanasia.”

With files from Karen Bartko and Sarah Ryan, Global News

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