An increase in coyote sightings in Oakville and the surrounding areas is becoming a concern for residents, governing bodies, and authorities in the area.
Coyotes are becoming more tolerant of humans as they get used to the sounds of city life and as they search for food.
Not only does this make them more likely to wander into the streets, but it means that people who have seen coyotes might feed them and make them want to come back for more. This increases the likelihood of aggression and the chance of having an unfavourable interaction with one of the animals.
Reports of coyote sightings in the past two years have consisted mainly of sightings of aggressive and growling dogs, or missing family pets. It is not a problem that the City of Oakville and the Oakville Milton Humane Society are taking lightly.
What the town of Oakville has to say
What the Oakville Milton Humane Society has to say
When the problem regards public safety, as in the incident faced by a group of Oakville Trafalgar High School students who were approached by a growling coyote, then it is no longer simply about protecting the relationship between wildlife and people.
While hazing practices might be the solution for now, some of the suggested guidelines to protecting yourself against coyotes are not a reasonable solution for all people – especially those with pets or with a lack of funds.
When Kim Ramsahoye’s dog was attacked a few years ago, she wrote a letter to the editor of the Oakville Beaver describing what she thought needed to be done in order to keep people, and pets, safe. She wrote about how she no longer wants to live in the area with the knowledge that coyotes are allowed to roam free so close to residential areas. She believes there needs to be a better plan in place than just educating people on the dangers of interacting with wildlife.
As Oakville continues to expand northward, the coyote problem seems to increase.
Since the summer, OHMS has captured three coyote pups, as well as numerous other sightings of the creature with, and without, mange. While it does not make them more dangerous, it makes them more likely to approach people and venture onto city streets for food.
The Town of Oakville maintains its efforts to educate children and adults about how to keep safe from the animals and advises people to protect their homes and pets from wild coyotes.
Coyotes are animals native to North America. They were first scientifically described by Thomas Say in 1819 from Lewis and Clarke’s journals dating back to 1805.
They are essential in keeping our watershed and environments clean and free of disease; their diets consist primarily of rodents – such as rats and mice – as well as roadkill.
Coyotes are extremely intelligent and typically shy creatures, only making themselves known when they are sick, hungry, or looking for warmth.
Coyote related injuries, such as biting and scratching, are only reported to affect around 2.4 people per year.