2 people arrested for allegedly feeding Stanley Park coyotes on day of reopening
Two people were allegedly caught feeding coyotes in Vancouver's Stanley Park on Tuesday, shortly after the popular destination was fully reopened to the public.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the individuals, who have been identified only as residents of the province's Lower Mainland, were arrested and their vehicle was seized.
Access to Stanley Park had been limited for weeks following a series of coyote attacks on adults and children. Some trails were blocked, and the park was closed at night.
Tuesday also marked the end of a province-led coyote cull in the park. At one point, representatives from the Ministry of Forests said it was possible as many as 35 coyotes would be trapped and euthanized by contractors.
The ministry said other options had been explored first, but coyotes are territorial, and the Stanley Park population appeared so habituated to humans that re-location was impossible.
It hoped the cull would be a reset, making way for sustainable co-existence between humans and coyotes, and an education program would follow.
In the end, just four coyotes were trapped and killed as part of the two-week cull, all in the first few days. Seven others were killed before the cull began.
The Vancouver Park Board said Tuesday it was removing the fencing and signage related to the cull, but still advised caution. It said park rangers would be patrolling the park, watching the behaviour of both the coyotes and humans.
It also asked anyone who witnesses an attack or negative encounter, or sees a person feeding a coyote, to report it to the BCCOS immediately.
Conservation officers did not say Wednesday whether such a tip led to the arrests the day before.
"The feeding of dangerous wildlife is a violation of the Wildlife Act," BCCOS said in a statement posted on its Facebook page about the arrests.
"Feeding wildlife lowers an animal's natural fear of humans and often results in injury. It is when people engage in this type of reckless behaviour that coyotes become aggressive, resulting in multiple reports of attacks on people."
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information related to Tuesday's arrests or any other illegal feeding is asked to contact the service through its tip line at 1-877-952-7277.