Coyote attack in Stanley Park prompts another warning from conservation officers

Conservation officers are once again reminding the public about aggressive coyotes in Stanley Park after another person was attacked in the park Tuesday night.

The incident happened on the seawall just west of the Prospect Point lighthouse around 9:15 p.m., according to a Facebook post by the BC Conservation Officer Service.

A woman who was walking in the area suffered minor injuries after a coyote bit her on the calf, the service said.

She suffered minor injuries, explained conservation officer Erich Harbich, but did she go to the hospital to be checked. He said she had spotted the coyote on the seawall five or 10 minutes before she was bitten but thought it had left. She didn’t hear anything until she felt the bite on her calf.  

Conservation officers responded to the area, but were unable to find the offending animal.

“This was number 16 for physical encounters,” said Harbich, adding the prevailing theory for so many coyote incidents is, “high levels of habituation and a very high level of having access to human food.”

He explained it’s also possible given the time of year the animals could be protecting their kin, “but having said that some of these areas that we’re seeing them, are not near den sites, known den sites, or they’re out in the open, or they have routes or they’re going towards people form a long distance and making the conscious decision to approach them.”

City council unanimously passed a motion last week to make feeding wildlife in Vancouver illegal. Harbich said that certainly may help because, “that indirect access to food, whether it’s bird seed or bread crumbs for the ducks could definitely be a food source for the coyotes as well.”

He also added the long term solution is for park users need to be more diligent on attractants and indirect feeding. This could include things like garbage and food waste. 

"Coyotes are more active at dawn and dusk and park users should consider avoiding those times," the conservation officer service said in its post. "If you choose to go to Stanley Park, there is a risk you could encounter an aggressive coyote."

Conservation officers ask the public to familiarize themselves with coyote safety tips available on the provincial government website. They also ask the public to report any encounters with aggressive coyotes to the provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 877-952-7277.

CTV News Vancouver has reached out to the BC Conservation Officer Service for more information about Tuesday's incident. This story will be updated if a response is received.