B.C. government facing backlash over decision to euthanize up to 35 Stanley Park coyotes

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VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government is facing backlash over its decision to trap and euthanize dozens of coyotes at Stanley Park.

On Friday, the Ministry of Forests said professional contractors will be trapping up to 35 coyotes in the park over the next two weeks, a step deemed necessary due to “a steady increase in the number and severity” of the conflicts between the animals and humans.

More than 40 people have reported being attacked by a coyote at the park since last December. Conservation officers have killed seven of the animals so far this year.

Non-lethal removal was not possible because the park’s coyote population is “highly food-conditioned and human-habituated,” according to the ministry.

An online petition opposing the coyote cull had garnered more than 12,000 signatures by Sunday afternoon.

The petition, which was started by Leilani Pulsifer, calls on the BC Conservation Officer Service to stop killing coyotes, and to instead work with experts to identify aggressive individuals.

It also calls for the city to enforce laws against feeding wildlife.

Animal law lawyer Rebeka Breder echoed those calls.

"People need to be ticketed heavily for feeding wildlife,” she said.

Breder says that both local and provincial officials failed to handle the issue in a timely and appropriate manner, which may cost them financially.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the park board, province, city – a combination of them - will be sued for their negligence," she said.

Officials said traps will be active in the park from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily, and that 10 park rangers will be patrolling to keep people out of the park and deter them from interfering with the culling effort.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Alissa Thibault and Andrew Weichel