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Parks board to consider new fines for feeding animals in Vancouver parks

Feeding a coyote - or any wildlife - in Stanley Park could cost you $500 soon
New $500 fines for feeding coyotes and other wildlife in Vancouver parks could be in place soon. Photo by Eric Thompson

Following the coyote attacks in Stanley Park over the previous several months, the Vancouver parks board is considering new fines aimed at curbing park visitors' habit of feeding wildlife.

Currently, punishment for feeding wildlife in Vancouver is doled out by the B.C. Conservation Officers Service. In a meeting scheduled for Monday night (Sept. 27), the parks board will discuss new fines which would be enforced by police and park rangers.

"While the BC Wildlife Act includes provisions against feeding ‘dangerous wildlife,’ provincial enforcement resources are stretched, and the restrictions do not extend to other urban wildlife," states a report from parks administration.

The parks board has the power to create new bylaws and have park rangers enforce those bylaws with tickets and fines; the only fines they can hand out now are in regards to smoking.

There are bylaws on the books in regards to litter in parks that could be eaten by wildlife, but nothing addresses more direct forms of feeding wildlife. Administration notes the term wildlife would refer to all wildlife, reasoning feeding smaller animals provides more prey for larger wildlife.

"In recognition that feeding wildlife can have significant and broad impacts on the health and safety of both humans and animals, a fine of $500 per offence is suggested," states the report. "The maximum fine allowed per the Parks Control By-law is $2,000."

If the board passes the suggested bylaws the two new fineable offences would be for feeding wildlife directly and for leaving an attractant out to attract wildlife.

"Once enacted, it will be more clear that feeding any wildlife, either directly or indirectly, is prohibited in Vancouver parks and anyone contravening these by-laws may be fined," states administration in the report.

The board will discuss and vote on the report at a parks board meeting this evening. Administration notes in the report further recommendations could follow the initial bylaw amendments. 

Earlier this month the province's cull of coyotes in Stanley Park due to dangerous interactions with humans ended with four coyotes killed over two weeks. Following that two people were arrested for allegedly feeding coyotes in the park.