Three Coyote Attacks in 4 Days At Vancouver Park, Experts Worry Animals May Have Ingested Drugs

Conservation officers for Vancouver's Stanley Park say humans and coyotes are struggling to coexist due to several contributing factors sparking "abnormal behavior" in the wild animals

A coyote. Photo: Getty

Conservation officers are warning Vancouver residents to be cautious at the Canadian city's Stanley Park following three coyote attacks within four days.

Officers are investigating the latest incident, which took place on Friday. In the most recent attack, a man walking near the park's golf course was bitten on the leg by a coyote, according to CTV News. Coyote attacks also occurred on August 10 and August 11, resulting in a woman and a child getting bitten in separate incidents.

Stanley Park has reported dozens of aggressive coyote encounters in recent months and officers are now saying that it's difficult for humans and coyotes to co-exist in the park at this time.

Shelley Alexander, a University of Calgary professor and coyote expert, told CTV Morning Live that several possible factors could be contributing to the "abnormal" number of coyote attacks.

"The Stanley Park issue is more complicated than normal situations," Alexander said on Monday. "There's always a constellation of events that lead to these … no one is the key cause here."

Alexander explained that the displacement of the park's coyotes by increasing local homeless encampments has likely pushed the animals into areas where contact with people is more probable. She also told the outlet that another factor could be drugs accidentally found and ingested by the coyotes.

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Alexander added that the reported behavior of some of the attacking coyotes suggests "they've ingested toxins or drugs, possibly opioids. There's also some indication of possible abuse of these animals."

"This is abnormal behavior that we're seeing, but the key thing is here they've lost their bite inhibition, and so this is no longer a situation that you could consider a co-existence scenario," she continued.

Alexander, who has studied Stanley Park's coyotes for more than 25 years, recommends community members stay vigilant while visiting the park. Experts suggest yelling, putting your arms up, clapping your hands, and using an umbrella — if available — to scare off a coyote if you encounter the animal.

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