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Trail closures possible in Stanley Park during coyote breeding, denning season

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Officials are warning people in Vancouver to keep an eye out for coyotes in the coming weeks as breeding and denning season could make the animals more active and defensive.

In a public notice issued Tuesday, the city's park board said coyotes begin breeding in January, with new litters emerging this time of year.

"During this period coyotes become more active as they establish dens, guard their territories, and gather extra food for their pups," the park board's advisory said. "Coyotes usually appear at dawn and dusk, but currently they are more visible during the day as they become more assertive to protect their young. This could look like guiding humans and pets away from their dens and adopting a more defensive stance when feeling threatened."

As coyotes often retreat to forested, secluded spots for their dens, the park board warned certain busy trails – including some in Stanley Park – may have restricted access to avoid disturbing the animals.

In past years, full closures of the park have been necessary. In 2021, between August and December, dozens of people were reportedly attacked by coyotes in Stanley Park. As a result, 11 of the animals were trapped and killed. Officials say it was likely the aggressive coyotes had became food habituated, which led them to take that extreme action of closing all of Stanley Park.

"The unprecedented string of attacks impacted public safety, led to widespread community concern, closures of the park and financial impacts to businesses," the B.C. Conservation Officer said in a social media post earlier this year

Vancouver's not the only municipality that has been impacted by aggressive coyotes. Last September, seven coyote attacks were reported in a 24-hour period in Mission

And, last May, a six-year-old girl was bitten by a coyote at a music festival in Burnaby. 

In an effort to reduce the number of negative interactions between people and coyotes, the park board is urging people not to leave food on the ground and to never offer food to wildlife.

"Food attractants are the main reason coyotes becoming habituated to humans and hugely increase the chances of conflict," the park board's notice said, adding fines of $500 can be handed out to anyone caught feeding wildlife.

Pets should be kept on leash, except in designated off-leash areas. Anyone who encounters a coyote should slowly back away. If the animal approaches, the park board recommends acting aggressively by standing tall and yelling. 


A previous version of this story suggested Stanley Park was closed in 2021 because of denning season. The story has been updated to reflect the coyotes' behaviour was likely due to food habituation, according to park board officials. Top Stories

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