2-year-old bitten by coyote in Port Coquitlam, B.C., park
A two-year-old was attacked by a coyote at Lions Park in Port Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday night, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
The child was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The coyote was killed near the attack site, according to conservation officers.
"An examination of the coyote killed showed evidence it had consumed non-natural food sources," the service wrote in a tweet, noting the importance of not feeding dangerous wildlife.
Cpl. Alexa Hodgins of the Coquitlam RCMP said the coyote was seen in and around the park approaching other children as well and was shot to ensure public safety.
The Conservation Officer Service recommends people take steps to avoid coyote encounters, including putting a leash on their pets and travelling in groups.
Increase in aggression during denning season
Sarah Benson-Amram, an assistant professor of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia, said coyote attacks are rare, but coyotes are more protective of their space now because it's denning season — when pups are born.
"We do sometimes see an increase in coyote aggression at this time of year, but to actually bite a young child is incredibly rare," Benson-Amram said
"I wouldn't necessarily expect that the aggression will increase from here on out."
She says there's also a link between coyotes eating human food and an increase in attacks because the animals learn humans are a source of food and therefore become bolder.
Coyote attacks were especially extreme in Vancouver's Stanley Park about two years ago when 45 people, including children, reported being bitten or nipped in the park by a coyote between December 2020 and late August 2021.
The park was closed overnight for two weeks so coyotes could be trapped and killed to curb the growing number of attacks on humans. In total, 11 coyotes were killed.
Benson-Amram said it's important to have signs around parks that indicate where there are active coyote dens to encourage people to stay away from those areas.