Copperfield residents on alert with recent surge in reported coyote sightings | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Some residents are feeling a little nervous in a southeast Calgary neighbourhood, with an increase in the number of coyote sightings reported.

In recent weeks, the City of Calgary’s Parks and Open Spaces unit has fielded multiple 311 calls from across Calgary and the Copperfield community concerning coyote sightings, the City said.  Many of the sightings are being posted on Facebook, complete with videos of the wily predators roaming around ponds and in neighbourhoods.

The City wasn’t immediately able to provide specific numbers on coyote sightings or encounters in the area and said that oftentimes there are multiple reports of the same coyote sighting.

“An increase in coyote sightings at this time of year is considered normal as the juvenile coyotes that were born in the spring start to move out on their own and go exploring for their own territories,” the city said in an emailed statement.

Still, the increase in sightings has some area residents on edge.

“It’s actually kind of scary to go outside at night, like, people don’t go for walks or anything anymore,” said area resident, Jasmmeet Singhh.

“Seven, eight days ago I was coming back from a place and I saw a coyote.”

Several of the online reports show coyotes trotting around the neighbourhood and the wetlands around storm ponds.

Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer said he was aware of some of the concerns and has had some calls and emails to his office. Spencer posted online about the issue on Wednesday.

“Obviously, if you have an encounter where you actually feel a sense of threat to you or your pet, I mean that leaves an impact,” he said.

“So, I can certainly understand what people are seeing, what looks like threatening movement of coyotes, why they’d be concerned.”

Spencer said they appreciate when residents share information about coyote sightings or encounters. It allows the city to come up with a strategy to help manage the coyote population.

“There are ways that the city can step in but ultimately we’re trying to live at peace with the wildlife around us,” he said.

City response to coyote calls

The City of Calgary, in collaboration with experts, has developed a thorough protocol to handle these situations, aiming to balance a measured response with public safety.

“Ultimately we want to have a healthy coyote population in our parks and open spaces and we support and encourage peaceful co-existence with them,” a response from the City said.

“We also have a responsibility to keep citizens safe and need to act if we encounter an aggressive coyote.”

The City said that most coyote conflicts can be traced to “human-caused origin.”

“They learn to associate us with food, or perceive dogs as a threat or potential prey,” the City said. The city has more information on precautions citizens can take in areas with coyotes. The website said that coyotes are the top predator in the City and a good population shows that there’s a variety of healthy wildlife with stable numbers. They said they control a number of other wildlife (including rodents) from becoming a bigger problem.

Residents observing potentially threatening behaviour are urged to report their concerns via the city’s website.

“Then as the city observes the trends, that’s when it makes decisions on whether or not they have to work in concert with Fish and Wildlife,” Spencer said.

“Anytime a den gets moved, I know it’s happened in other places in the city, it’s only after the area and the behaviour of the coyotes has been examined for a while and the threat to public safety is big enough to warrant intervention.”

Coyote relocation is not permitted by the Government of Alberta, and lethal removal of coyotes is a last resort and is only used if there is a risk to public safety, the City said.

The City’s approach to coyote management centers on fostering coexistence through public education and proactive measures such as hazing when deemed necessary.

Hazing is a method involving a series of escalating steps aimed at reinstating a natural fear of humans in coyotes. This technique involves using noises, occasional dog presence, and, in rare cases, a chalk projectile fired near a coyote to create a sound and dust explosion, the city said.

The primary goal for the city is to maintain a robust coyote population in our parks and open spaces while advocating for peaceful coexistence, the city said.

Coyote Conflict Response Guide – City of Calgary by Darren Krause on Scribd

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