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Vancouver parks board approves fines for feeding coyotes, other wildlife

Staff will return with a final bylaw amendment soon

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has approved fines for feeding wild animals in the city's parks.

Two new fines were green-lit during a parks board meeting Monday evening, Sept. 27: one for directly feeding wild animals and one for leaving attractants out to draw wild animals out.

People feeding coyotes and leaving food for other animals have been blamed for the more than 40 coyote attacks that have happened since winter 2020. Amit Gandha, the acting director with the parks board, told board members about how conservation officers rustled a bag of chips at a coyote to draw it near. In the report, photos were also shared of someone using food to draw raccoons close for photos.

The fines have been set at $500 for now and staff are writing the revised by-law this week for the board to give final approval of at the next meeting, Oct. 4. Enforcement with the new fines could start directly after.

"Once we have this [bylaw amendment] completed then staff will have to look at next steps on what that looks like as far as the enforcement component," Gandha told board members at the meeting.

Currently, the only fines regarding feeding wildlife in Stanley Park are handed out by the BC Conservation Officers Service under the wildlife act; park rangers don't have the authority to issue those fines.

Board members discussed adding fish to the bylaw and upping how much fines were but decided to stick with the current $500 fines. The fines drew support from those calling in to share their opinions on the fines. Lesley Fox, executive director of the Fur-Bearers, said the organization was concerned with the practice of feeding animals for social media posts and supported the fines.

"We would support an increase in the fine," she said "We believe a strong deterrent is needed to prevent wildlife feeding."

The board voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations.