The Vancouver Park Board met on Monday night and voted in favour of a proposed bylaw amendment, implementing a hefty fine of $500 for feeding urban wildlife.
After a sharp increase in coyote attacks these past months, leading to the temporary closure of Stanley Park, the community has been urged to resist feeding animals (no matter how cute) to reduce food left in parks.
Officially though, "while the BC Wildlife Act includes provisions against feeding 'dangerous wildlife', provincial enforcement resources are stretched, and the restrictions do not extend to other urban wildlife," reads a report summary provided to the board.
The new amendment would prevent visitors from feeding all wildlife, from birds and raccoons to more dangerous wildlife like coyotes. It also extends the by-law to include indirect feeding, such as leaving food out to attract animals.
This evening, our Board approved the proposed amendments to the Parks Control and Ticket Offences By-laws regarding… https://t.co/eb54Yt3yJp— Vancouver Park Board (@Vancouver Park Board) 1632799531.0
The report reads that "The Stanley Park Ecology Society, City of Vancouver, Park Board, and Provincial Conservation Officers Service receive ongoing reports of wildlife feeding in parks, including hand feeding and depositing large amounts of domestic animal or human food on the ground with the intention of feeding wildlife."
It adds that in some observed cases, the behaviour seems to be "for the purpose of taking close-up wildlife photographs."
As tempted as we might be to get that cute photo for Instagram, it's actually harming the animals directly as well as attracting danger.
"Human feeding of wildlife interferes with normal foraging, hunting, and population numbers. It is physically unhealthy for animals, and encourages food-conditioning that can lead to aggressive behavior," the report explains.
After a unanimous vote, the board now plans to meet again next week to discuss enforcement options.