Who is to blame for aggressive coyotes in Stanley Park?
It’s now been two weeks since the Vancouver Park Board and provincial officials erected a bright orange fence around Stanley Park to try and deal with aggressive coyotes.
When the plan to cull the animals was first announced, B.C.'s Ministry of Forests said professional contractors would be trapping up to 35 coyotes in the park.
So far, four coyotes have been caught and euthanized. In an emailed statement Friday, the ministry said it's "possible there may be less coyotes in the park than anticipated.”
Edward Kroc is an assistant professor of measurement, evaluation and research methodology at the University of British Columbia, and specializes in urban ecology.
“I would put the majority of the blame directly on the park board,” he said. “Presumably they have resources, they have money. I don’t know what they’re using it for but they are clearly not using it to maintain a healthy park, in terms of a healthy ecosystem, at all. It's basically just been a garbage pit for people to play in.”
As far as the province is concerned, Kroc says it’s “absurd” that officials don’t know how many coyotes are in the park.
“The cull should be halted and they should actually go out and study the population that they’re killing,” he said.
CTV News asked the Vancouver Park Board how much money has been spent so far on the coyote management project. An emailed response had no firm figure but said “most of the costs (which are minimal at this point) have been incurred within the last few weeks."
As a comparison request, CTV News was also provided the cost of the temporary Stanley Park bike lane, which came to $815,000 for public surveys, consultation and implementation. The lane is set to be removed in October.
Board Commissioner John Coupar has long been against the temporary bike lane and said the money spent on it was “unnecessary” and “wasteful.”
Coupar is also critical of Park Board Chair Camille Dumont. Dumont put forward the bike lane motion, and Coupar said he has also failed to handle the coyote issue.
“I would suggest the chair of the park board, who’s a member of the Green-COPE alliance on the park board, should have been more visible to the media and more visible to the public,” he said.
CTV News reached out to Dumont for comment, but did not hear back by deadline.
When asked if the park board was responsible for the coyote situation getting to the point of the animals needing to be culled, Coupar said the province should have stepped in sooner.
“Our job isn’t wildlife management, that’s the province, and even the ticketing and all that, that’s the province wildlife officers,” he said. “It’s really not the mandate of the park board to control wildlife in Stanley Park, never has been.”
No on from the Ministry of Forests was available for an interview Friday. In its statement, the ministry said the coyote traps will be “locked down and de-activated” over the weekend due to the weather, adding more information will be coming early next week.