Dominik Podkowiak no longer runs through one particular section of Stanley Park after he had a scary interaction with an aggressive coyote.
Around 9 p.m. on Dec. 22, Podkowiak says he was running near Brockton Oval when a small coyote came out of the woods and nipped at the back of his leg.
He tried to keep moving, but the animal got him again.
“He nibbled me again, but it wasn’t like a hard bite, it was playful, like, you know, when you play with a dog,” he said.
But this wasn’t a playful dog and Podkowiak feared there could be more coyotes lingering in the bushes. He decided to make himself big.
“I yelled like you’re supposed to scare a bear, I lifted up my arms,” he said.
After about three minutes, the animal retreated into the woods.
Podkowiak’s interaction is one of a handful the B.C. Conservation Officer Service is aware of.
Sgt. Simon Gravel says since Dec. 20, there have been five different reports of people being attacked by a coyote in the area around Brockton Oval.
“It happened on the seawall or a trail close by; in every situation it’s the same scenario, the coyote (has) approached from behind and has bitten a runner,” Gravel said.
As a result, some trails in Stanley Park are closed temporarily.
The conservation officer service posted about the incidents on Facebook Friday morning, saying, "No one has been seriously injured. Coyote sightings in Stanley Park are not unusual, however this escalating behaviour is concerning."
Gravel said they’re asking the public to avoid the area, adding that “it’s very likely that this coyote will attempt or have this behaviour again.”
Officers are also working to find the animal and remove it from the park.
Coyotes normally avoid humans in Stanley Park, but Gravel fears this particular animal has become habituated to humans because someone has been feeding it.
“Stanley Park is a great ecosystem for a coyote,” he said. “There’s a lot of natural food, they do not need to be fed by humans … If you see a coyote, keep your distance, walk away from it and do not approach it.”
Feeding a coyote is not only unnecessary. It’s also illegal.
The advice from conservation officers if a coyote approaches you is to “make yourself as large as possible, face it, wave your arms, yell, and throw sticks, stones or other objects."
Sightings and encounters should be reported using the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277. They can also be reported on the Stanley Park Ecological Society website.
With files from CTV’s Alyse Kotyk