Fences erected as B.C. prepares to cull up to 35 coyotes in Stanley Park
Vancouver's iconic Stanley Park is being fenced off for the first time ever as B.C. prepares to cull dozens of coyotes – a last-ditch effort to end an alarming series of unprovoked attacks on visitors.
Crews began putting the fencing up Friday, days after the Vancouver Park Board announced the popular outdoor attraction would be closed between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. as a precaution.
Three more attacks were reported on Wednesday, including two that involved children.
B.C.'s Ministry of Forests said professional contractors will be trapping up to 35 coyotes in Stanley Park over the next two weeks, a step deemed necessary due to "a steady increase in the number and severity" of the conflicts.
"The traps will be 'live-capture' and coyotes will be subsequently humanely euthanized," the ministry said in an email statement. "The location and number of traps will not be made public to deter vandalism."
Dozens of incidents involving aggressive coyotes have been reported in the park since December, and the attacks persisted even after conservation officers managed to kill seven of the animals believed to be involved.
The province said biologists and conservation officers considered relocating the animals, but decided they were too "highly food conditioned and human-habituated."
"Coyote relocation is difficult even without these factors. Coyotes are highly territorial and would be in direct conflict with whatever local population they were introduced to," the Ministry of Forests said.
"In addition there is a very high mortality rate for translocated individuals, and a lack of suitable enclosures."
Despite the nightly park closures, a concert in Stanley Park's Malkin Bowl venue is being allowed to proceed as planned on Friday night. The park board told CTV News that staff worked with organizers of The Sheepdogs show to develop a plan to ensure public safety.
"No damn coyote is gonna stop a Sheepdogs show!" the band wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Officials said traps will be active in the park from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily, and that 10 rangers will be patrolling to keep people out of the park and deter them from interfering with the culling effort.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alissa Thibault
This story has been updated to correct the number of coyotes killed so far. It is seven, not six.