Don’t do what I’ve done and try to get closer for a better look or a picture! (Because it was nonchalant and unafraid, a few times I thought a coyote was a dog off-leash.)
Typically not a threat to humans, coyotes can become more aggressive as they get comfortable around people. And although city life isn’t for everyone, more and more, urban coyotes find it suits them just fine.
The boundary between urban and rural gets blurry with every new sprawling development, as human communities creep closer to the habitats of our wild neighbours. Coyotes are one of those species — like pigeons, magpies, crows and racoons — that can tolerate living with us. This can lead to conflict between them, people and pets.
Learn how to haze a coyote. Hazing can help maintain coyotes’ fear of humans and deter them from our backyards (which I suspect would significantly reduce the number of missing cat posters in my neighbourhood). The simplest way is to get loud and large! Stand tall, wave your arms and yell.
Keep your family and pets safe. Never feed coyotes. You’re just putting the animal, yourself and your neighbours at risk. Prevent unwanted encounters by keeping pet food inside and your garbage bins tidy.
Studies show that urban coyotes actually have longer life expectancies than their rural cousins, so chances are they’re here to stay.
Find out if a naturalist group or wildlife rehabilitation centre in your city offers urban coyote education programs. Vancouver’s Stanley Park Ecology Society’s Co-existing with Coyotes program maintains a coyote hotline (604-681-WILD) to report sightings and it maintains a map of recent reports.