Update on the Coyotes
I admit that in my last post “Getting along with Coyotes” I did not get the details written down, either because of my communication or because of what was reported. In the area where the dog attack took place, it is a suburban area adjacent to the river valley and a larger wild area. The woman was walking her three dogs in the evening, and it was assumed off-leash when a pack of coyotes closed in on the smallest dog.The woman ended up down the steep embankment, not because she fell , as I mistakenly said, but because she chased the coyotes after they chased her smallest dog that way .The small dog was bitten and chased onto the ice, which was too thin for her to go to the dog. She did chase the coyotes away and luckily had a cellphone to call for help because she could not get back up the embankment on her own. Both her and the dog were rescued. The dog was taken to the vet and was expected to recover but the extent of its injuries was not reported, other than some “bites.”
This is considered an unusual incident, first because it was apparently, a pack up to 7 or 9 animals. and coyotes are breeding and finding their dens, so more territorial and aggressive at this time of year.We have encroached on wildlife as the city has grown along the river valley so we have always co-existed and the coyotes have been here for dozens of years. The city of Edmonton has the largest park land in North America which is a blessing as well as a problem such as in this case.We have had bears and cougars and moose wander into the city on occasion. There are a lot of deer here as well. This is a problem in every city in North America.The city administration has a pamphlet specifically on coyotes and what to do and what not to do. When there is a report of activity, trails are closed and signs are posted.
The problem comes as a result of increasing population as well as access to available food.There is plenty for coyotes to eat in the river valley as we have a large population of mice, voles, and rabbits, birds. The rest comes from peoples back yards, either from pet food left outside , dropped fruit from trees or garbage not secured in covered containers.There are people who leave buns and slices of bread attached to tree branches along the trails presumably for the birds but I am certain that the coyotes are feasting on this.Then there is the food left in the picnic areas. Apparently feral and loose cats compose 5% of a coyotes diet in the Edmonton river valley. I shudder to think of this, but how many people are approaching coyotes or even feeding them?
I am sure there have been more incidents that have been reported. I met a young man who told me with some pride that his dog had a confrontation with a coyote but said the dog is calmer now and more in control. I am certain that there will be more confrontations between dogs and coyotes as well as people and coyotes as the latter loses fear of people. I know when I am walking alone and hear a pack howling, I do not go to that area.It makes me a little nervous. I call that common sense.
There is a joint study by the University of Alberta and the City being done called the Urban Coyote Project. I am so curious about this matter that I offered to volunteer with this project. My goal is to educate myself and others so we may live together in this great land without getting anyone or anything killed.