The City of Montreal is ramping up efforts to combat coyote attacks, after three were reported just last week. Of those three attacks, two involved small children. The city announced the launch of a new "scaring campaign" to shoo the coyotes away from public territory.
The most recent attack happened this past Saturday evening in Montreal's Parc des Hirondelles. A three-year-old girl was reportedly bitten by a coyote, and was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The night before, a five-year-old boy was bitten less than a kilometre away, in Parc Gabriel-Lalemant.
The "scaring campaign" is a joint initiative between the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. The city will be installing baits and cameras in the areas where the attacks occurred. City employees will also be stationed at the parks to scare coyotes away.
A spokesperson for Montreal's executive committee says that the bait will be used to attract the coyotes in front of the cameras "in order to evaluate their behaviour (to see whether they are aggressive or not)."
This is the second coyote management initiative by the City of Montreal, after nearly 600 coyote sightings had been reported in a single year. According to their statement, coyotes have adapted to urbanization, and "can now be found within and near all urban areas in North America."
Montreal's statement also claims that coyotes represent an "extremely low" risk to public safety. "Specialists in coyote behaviour in urban environments say that most animals are looking to avoid confrontations with humans and that it is unusual for coyotes to not be afraid of humans," says the statement.
The City of Montreal also has tips on keeping yourself, your pets and young children safe in the presence of coyotes. Here are a few key ones from their website:
- Keep pets on a leash and stay within well-lit areas at all times.
- If you spot a coyote, "leave the site backing away slowly and remaining calm – avoid turning your back to run away. Keep eye contact with the coyote while backing away.
- If the animal behaves aggressively, make yourself as large as possible while throwing rocks and branches towards the animal to scare it away but not aiming at it directly, so as not to make it more aggressive.
For more tips on how to safely coexist with coyotes, visit the City of Montreal's website.
Source: Montreal Gazette