A busy year for coyotes is bad
news for Stanley Park's swans,
says Gordon Thompson.
PHOTO: Randall Goecp
Coyote kills Lost Lagoon swan
STANLEY PARK'S COYOTE POPULATION IS growing bolder as members of the public continue to ignore posted signs about not feeding the animals.
The latest casualty is one of the park's swans, who ventured onto the shores of Lost Lagoon and was killed by a coyote last Friday.
"It's rare for a coyote to attack a swan," said parks board employee Gordon Thompson. "They're normally capable of fighting them off they have great wing strength."
Thompson, who works at the Nature House on Lost Lagoon, said the swan had a misshapen foot, which probably slowed it down, but stressed that animals in the park are becoming too trusting.
"They are so used to people feeding them, they think that anything on land is friendly," said Gordon. "We've even witnessed people feeding coyotes."
Many people are unaware of coyotes in Stanley Park, but their presence is being felt by downtown residents.
"We don't keep specific statistics, but the numbers are certainly on the rise," said Mike Mackintosh, a parks board wildlife management officer. "In Stanley Park, I'd estimate there are maybe 20 or 25 coyotes."
Distemper outbreaks in past years have keep coyote population numbers down, but this year's population promises to be healthy. "We're getting more reports of aggression, or perceived aggression. As the animals become bolder they're becoming more of a public threat," said Mackintosh.
"People are feeding them, and encouraging them to get close, which only adds to the problem," he said. It's certainly going to be a busy year for coyotes."