Coyote walks up and bites woman gardening in Prince George, B.C.

Wildlife experts say it is unusual for coyotes to attack humans unprovoked. (Shutterstock - image credit)
Wildlife experts say it is unusual for coyotes to attack humans unprovoked. (Shutterstock - image credit)

A woman gardening in Prince George was sent to hospital after a coyote walked up and bit her, B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service says.

According to the service, the woman was working outdoors along McMillan Drive in the Hart neighbourhood at around 11:30 Monday morning.

"The woman was gardening when a coyote walked up from behind and bit her," the service said in a statement. "She was treated in hospital for minor injuries [and] the coyote was chased off."

The neighbourhood in question is along a forested area and near several parks.

Travel in groups, carry bear spray

The service is now asking people in the region to take precautions, such as travelling in groups, carrying bear spray and keeping pets indoors or on a leash as they investigate.

Sage Raymond
Sage Raymond

Coyotes tend to be more aggressive in spring when pups are born, but having one approach and attack someone working in their yard is unusual.

Earlier this year, a two-year-old was attacked by a coyote at Lions Park in Port Coquitlam, B.C., followed by another coyote biting a six-year-old in Burnaby.

And in 2021, officials in Stanley Park had to act on a series of aggressive attacks from animals in the area.

In those cases, it was determined that the animals had become habituated to humans due to unsecured garbage and food sources.

Sarah Benson-Amram, an assistant professor of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia, said there's 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.

Nadia Xenakis, the urban wildlife program co-ordinator with the Stanley Park Ecology Society, says another major concern is potential conflicts with off-leash dogs on trails. If a dog picks up a scent and runs to a coyote's den, coyotes will try to protect their homes, she said.