I was very excited to be able to attend the Public Education session at City Hall where speaker Lesley Sampson, Founder and Executive Director of Coyote Watch Canada, spoke about coyote behaviour and avoiding conflict. The city of Brampton understands the concerns of Brampton citizens and is doing what they can to ensure everyone’s safety. I was surprised and impressed to hear about all of their efforts to deal with the coyote concerns including joining with Coyote Watch Canada, bringing in the knowledge of a team that has work with coyotes closely. I wanted to take the chance to share the information and spread the word that coexisting with coyotes is possible and necessary.
When the city starts hearing about increased sightings of coyotes they begin to look into what may be attracting them to these areas. Coyote sightings are common as they have been an important part of our ecosystem for many years. By applying common sense, preventative techniques and being aware of the diversity of wildlife that we share our community with, we can minimize human and wildlife encounters and conflict. When coyote sightings increase many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source, as well as multiple sightings of the same coyote. This includes trash bins, composts, and outdoor pet dishes.
Helpful coexistence tips
- Never feed coyotes. We need to keep them wild and wary of people.
- Keep pet food and water bowls indoors. Pet food will attract coyotes to your yard.
- Keep trash cans covered.
- Pick ripened fruit, and clean all rotted fallen fruit off the ground.
- Do not allow a large amount of wild bird seed to remain on your lawn. Bird seed not only attracts birds, but rabbits, squirrels, and rodents, which are prey for coyotes.
- Keep pets under strict control. Coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn.
- Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes, raccoons and weasels can break through chicken coop wire.
- Neuter pets. Although a rare occurrence, coyotes may mate with domesticated dogs.
- Cats and small dogs may become prey for coyotes. Pet owners should protect pets and not let them roam. Letting cats roam can actually draw coyotes into the area. If you have feral cats in your neighbourhood that is fed visit https://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/colony-care/feeding for information on proper feeding techniques.
- Do not approach coyotes. Avoid coyote dens, and do not interfere with pups, even if it appears the parents have abandoned them. Coyotes will do their best to avoid human contact, but may attack humans when provoked, sick or injured.
- Report Coyote sightings to the city for tracking: 905-458-5800
- Teach children about wildlife and how to safely respond to a coyote (or dog) nearby.
- Respect, compassion and education are common sense tools that nurture safe and healthy human and wildlife families.
- Never run if confronted by a coyote. Pick up dogs or children and make yourself as big and loud as possible while moving away slowly facing the animal.
If confronted by a coyote
- Carry shakers make noise
- Use an automatic umbrella to open in their direction to scare them
- Pick up dirt and/or stone and throw it in their direction
- Stand up tall and firmly yell, do not make a high pitch scream.
- DO NOT RUN, walk slowly backwards
Our pets are at risk of many environmental dangers when they are not under our control. Coyotes may prey on small domestic animals as food and to eliminate a threat to their territory or pups. Domestic dogs can be considered competition for food items at locations where humans are feeding coyotes. Accompany your pets or your children walking your pets outdoors after dusk, especially in backyards (unfenced and fenced) and on a leash as this minimizes such encounters. Keep pets indoors at night or enclosed in kennels.
Residents are also being urged to report coyote and fox sightings by calling 3-1-1 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Animal Services is also asking witnesses to take pictures of the animals, if they are able, in an effort to create a database to better track and identify individuals.