Two people have been arrested and their vehicle seized by the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) for allegedly feeding coyotes in Stanley Park.
The two Lower Mainland residents were arrested Sept. 21 for violating the Wildlife Act, which prohibits feeding animals like coyotes. BCCOS Insp. Drew Milne says the incident is still under investigation and specific details won't be released at this point in a Facebook video.
The arrest follows months of conflict between coyotes and humans in the park; Milne notes at least 45 people were attacked and in total 11 coyotes were killed. The BCCOS killed seven in direct response to specific attacks, while the province killed four during a cull that ended Sept. 21.
"Feeding wildlife lowers an animal’s natural fear of humans and often results in injury. It is when people engage in this type of reckless behaviour that coyotes become aggressive," notes the BCCOS in a Facebook post.
They add that future enforcement and arrests are possible if they catch anyone else feeding dangerous wildlife. Milne notes in the video that feeding or putting food out to lure coyotes is a dangerous activity.
"It's not normal for coyotes to approach or pursue people. Aggressive behaviour towards people is almost always the result of the animal becoming too comfortable to humans due to it being fed, either directly or indirectly," says Milne in the video. "It may seem or feel like you're doing the right thing by feeding wildlife, but this behaviour has a dramatic cause and effect relationship."
Stanley Park was officially fully reopened Tuesday, Sept. 21 to the public. It had been partially closed, at night, due to the human-coyote conflicts.