After first week of coyote cull effort, only 4 animals caught in Stanley Park

The B.C. government is suggesting there may be fewer coyotes in Stanley Park than previously thought after only four of the animals were captured during the first week of the province's culling effort.

Officials previously indicated the private trappers hired to help put an end to the alarming series of attacks on park visitors could euthanize as many as 35 coyotes over two weeks.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Forests said the government is hoping to get a more accurate picture of Stanley Park's coyote population soon.

"We are still observing the data, and wildlife staff have increased monitoring efforts to learn more, but it is possible there may be less coyotes in the park than anticipated," the ministry said in an email.

Despite the slow start, the province said it still expects the culling effort to take about two weeks.

Officials said the decision to euthanize the park's coyotes was only made after all other alternatives were considered.

The Ministry of Forests said the animals have become too habituated to humans to be relocated, and officials are at a loss about how to prevent further attacks on humans if the coyotes are left alone.

At least 45 attacks have been reported since December 2020, including five that injured children.

The contractors hired to catch and kill the coyotes are using non-lethal traps described by the government as "modified foothold traps," which the government said minimize the risk of pain or injury to the animals.

Once the park's coyote population is removed, the ministry said it will be working with the Vancouver Park Board on a long-term plan to avoid a similar situation in the future, including work to "implement strategies addressing human behaviour as well as the availability of food and garbage."