'Avoid Stanley Park': Conservation officer issues stern warning about dangerous coyotes

Following an attack on a two-year-old girl by a coyote Monday night, conservation officers are being blunt, warning that anyone who enters the park must do so “at their own risk.”

By their count, there have been at least 31 coyote attacks since December, and dozens of dogs have been mauled. Those numbers could be higher, because some encounters may have gone unreported.

Anyone entering the park should use an “abundance of caution” and expect to encounter a coyote, according to Sgt. Simon Gravel of the BC Conservation Officer Service.

“My recommendation right now would be to avoid the park,” Gravel said. “It is impossible for us to protect you from such a coyote attack. They are everywhere right now.”

For months, the public has been told to steer clear of certain remote areas of Stanley Park and to travel in groups, but the attack on the two-year-old occurred in the parking lot of the Vancouver Aquarium, and the child was surrounded by several adults.

The toddler has bites marks on her neck and face, but has been released from hospital.

“We had reports of attacks where six coyotes at the same time were involved,” said Gravel. “So, multiple coyotes represent a risk right now.”

Animal rights group The Fur-Bearers believes the park should be shut down until the situation is under control.

“There’s many things that we can do to prevent these kinds of encounters,” said Lesley Fox, the group’s executive director.

“Unfortunately, that rests with the decision-makers, and I have no idea where the (Vancouver) Park Board has been this entire time.”

CTV News requested an interview with the board, but was told nobody was available, and that nearly 48 hours after the attack on the child, they hadn’t received any reports on the incident.

Meanwhile, conservation officers confirmed two coyotes have been euthanized, and they are searching for six others. They admitted that will take some time, and said they’re not sure it will be enough to fully restore the safety of the park.