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Opinion: Coyotes in Stanley Park need to be culled – immediately

There have been more than 40 attacks since December 2020
Photo Brendan Kergin

Stanley Park, the crown jewel of Metro Vancouver parks, is under siege by dangerous invaders who prey on small children, pets, and even adults.

Yet all authorities have run away from their responsibilities to deal with this potentially deadly situation – the wild coyotes that have attacked more than 40 people since December 2020, including 2-year-old and 5-year-old children.

This situation is completely intolerable – a park that tens of thousands of people depend on for recreation has been turned into a playpen for wild coyotes so habituated to humans that they now view them as prey.

And from the Vancouver Park Board to the provincial Conservation Officer Service the only advice has been “we’re stumped” and “don’t go to Stanley Park” and “carry bear spray” – unacceptable answers! 

The euthanization of six coyotes by the COS in recent weeks has not solved the problem by taking out alleged “perpetrators” and the obvious solution has been completely avoided: it’s time to close Stanley Park, send in tracking dogs and armed officers to cull all coyotes there.

Until that is done, Stanley Park will be unusable to the very taxpayers who fund its staff and services. 

Let’s be clear: if a cougar or bear attacked a human in Stanley Park, swift action would be taken to hunt down and kill the offending animal before anyone else was attacked.

But because of misguided animal rights activists, the constant stream of attacks on children and adults have only received a grudging, half-hearted response from the authorities – not good enough by far.

And the injuries coyotes inflict can be serious – even fatal.  A young woman jogger attacked in January was so hurt that she is still unable to work, in rehab and needing a “Go Fund Me” page to get by! 

A few facts:

- Coyotes are not an endangered species – hundreds of thousands live in North America.  

- Coyotes are an invasive species with no history in Vancouver until they arrived in the 1980s.  There are no coyotes on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands.

- Coyotes thrive in urban areas because their natural predators – wolves, cougars and bears – cannot survive in cities.  

Animal rights activists argue for “co-habitation” – give up our parks to them.  That’s unacceptable.

They also argue that if culled, coyotes will “retaliate with compensatory reproduction and immigration” but at the same time, they say coyotes are very smart.

Pretty obviously, the cull of coyotes out of an entire area would be a definitive learning experience.  If coyotes return then another cull will be necessary.

Do coyotes help control rodents?  Maybe, but then why are they attacking humans?  And Vancouver wasn’t “rat and mice free” before coyotes arrived! 

Some coyote backers blame homeless people in Stanley Park for leaving food around.  Sadly, the homeless have been in the park far longer than coyotes – and we have only had the animal attacks in the past eight months.  

The most ridiculous theory yet? Drug users have left their opioids out for coyotes to ingest and then they go crazy, biting people! 

Really? The coyotes would fall asleep from opioids, or possibly overdose.  And users aren’t prone to giving away their stash.  

Despite these whacky arguments, there are some steps we can agree on: coyote-proofing all garbage containers in Stanley Park and high fines for any idiots actually intentionally feeding coyotes.

But the coyote attacks on people cannot go on. It’s time for a complete cull – before a child is killed. 

Please stand up for our right to enjoy a safe Stanley Park and city by signing my petition.