Senneville issues warning about coyotes becoming less afraid of humans

Coyote (Flickr)

A town on the western tip of the island of Montreal has issued a warning to its residents about coyotes.

Experts say coyotes are becoming less afraid of humans in the Village of Senneville and people who live there should be aware.

“There are coyotes in the area, just like there’s deer and other forest creatures. They’re definitely around. I hear them at night,” said resident Wendy Tillett.

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Surrounded by wilderness, spotting wildlife in Senneville is common, even when it comes to coyotes, who are generally described as shy animals.

“They have to hunt, they have to get close to prey, so they’re pretty good at ensuring they aren’t seen,” said David Rodrigue, executive director of the Ecomuseum, an outdoor zoo showcasing Quebec wildlife in neighbouring Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Rodrigue said when a wild animal gets acclimatized to humans, things can change for the worse.

“Usually when you start having problematic interactions, it’s pretty much always a result of an animal that’s been habituated to people, it’s been fed by people - and then they expect the food, they get closer, they lose the fear, and you get all this sequence of events that will result in those bad interactions,” he said.

Anyone who sees a coyote or other wild animal in their neighbourhood shouldn’t feed it, he said.

Senneville Mayor Julie Brisebois said it’s also important to look around the yard for anything that might be a draw.

“Fallen fruit can be an attraction for coyotes, and any food you leave around or your garbage that might be out in the open and not in bins could be attraction for coyotes,” she said.

Residents are encouraged to enjoy the coyotes from afar and to report any sightings to the municipality.

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