Burnaby resident warns pet owners of coyotes
A North Burnaby resident is warning pet owners to keep their cats and small dogs indoors after seeing and hearing coyotes in his neighbourhood in recent days.
Al Morev has lived in the Lochdale area for 20 years and while he doesn't have any statistics to cite, anecdotally from speaking to neighbours, he believes coyotes are increasingly active there and in other parts of the city.
There are new "missing cat" posters put up in the area "all the time," Morev said. "People think [the cat is] lost but it's not. It got taken away."
A couple weeks ago, Morev says, he saw a "well-fed" adult coyote run into his front yard at about 3 p.m.
"They're not afraid of humans anymore. It was looking for food."
And several days ago, around midnight, he says he heard what seemed like a coyote concert— several adult coyotes and pups howling and barking under a full moon.
Morev urged pet owners to keep cats and small dogs indoors or in a high-fenced yard to prevent them being preyed upon by coyotes. He noted that coyotes have also been known to attack small children.
"I'm an animal lover and I'm very saddened by this," said Morev. "I keep my cats indoors. I'm too scared to let them out."
He believes the solution would be to trap coyotes and relocate them away from the urban Lower Mainland.
Such a move would not be feasible, said a response from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which is responsible for wildlife.
"Attempting to trap and relocate coyotes from a given area would be costly and ineffective because other coyotes would simply move into the empty habitat," the emailed statement said.
While the ministry has not conducted a formal count recently, 10 years ago the Stanley Park Ecological Society estimated there were 2,000 to 3,000 coyotes in the Lower Mainland.
"Coyotes are indigenous to B.C. and unless they are proven to be a problem, population control measures are unlikely."
It is illegal to feed or attract dangerous wildlife, including coyotes, the statement said, and the best way to protect pets is to keep them on a leash or contained.
"Conservation officers will respond to coyote complaints where there is a threat to public safety or where predation has occurred on cattle or sheep."
Coyotes which display aggressive or threatening behaviour should be reported immediately to the Ministry of Environment's call centre at 1-800-663-9453.
Visit http://bit.ly/NMo9T3 for more information on co-existing with coyotes.