Coyotes are found throughout North America, living in rural and urban areas. Though rarely seen, increased development and human behaviours have drawn coyotes out of their secluded spaces. Feeding coyotes, running from them and allowing pets to roam off-leash have contributed to coyotes losing their inhibitions towards people. The town has a comprehensive program to address coyotes in the community.
Coyote information evening
The town held a Living with Coyotes information session on January 20, 2016 to inform the public
- How to coexist with wildlife
- How to safely enjoy our trails and greenspaces
- What the town is doing to support residents and wildlife
Increased coyote sightings and map
There is currently a case of mange circulating in coyote populations in Oakville which has led to these animals frequenting residential neighbourhoods to seek warmth and find easy food such as birdseed and garbage. Mange is not a threat to humans or pets and does not directly lead to increased aggression. To learn more please see our Coyote Fact Sheet (pdf, 118 kB).
Through the coyote reporting system, the town is working with the Oakville Humane Society to assist them in locating and treating infected coyotes. Please report coyote sightings and activity through this system. If there is an immediate risk to safety call 911 as the reporting system is not designed to respond to these types of calls.
Visit the coyote sightings map to learn where coyotes have been observed. This mapping reflects reported sightings and is not meant to indicate the number of coyotes present or a complete profile of where coyotes are present in Oakville. It provides the town and residents with useful information on understanding where the possibility of encountering a coyote may be more prevalent.
Coyotes are very adaptive animals. Because they have adapted so well to urban living, coyotes are here to stay. The mere presence of a coyote is not cause for concern. Community education is key to co-existing with wildlife. There are a number of things we can all do to help reduce human-coyote conflicts:
- Never feed a coyote. Feeding makes the animals less fearful of humans. Ensure garbage, compost and pet food are inaccessible. Do not leave food waste in town garbage cans.
- Keep pets attended and on leash. The town's by-laws require pets to be on leash except in designated areas (off-leash parks). Supervise animals when they are in the yard. Cats should not be permitted to roam free.
- Do not attempt to tame or play with a coyote. Coyotes are wild animals and abnormal familiarity with humans can lead to unpredictable behaviour.
- Discourage coyotes from entering your property by consistently frightening them away. This is called hazing and keeps coyotes wary of people. Use motion detectors and noise makers; spray with water from a hose; throw items such as small stones, tennis balls or sticks in the coyote’s direction.
- Do not turn your back on, or run from, a coyote. Stand tall, wave your arms and make lots of noise.
Capture and relocation of coyotes to more than one kilometre away is not permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Research shows wildlife relocated from urban areas usually return or become a problem elsewhere. In addition, when coyotes are hunted or lethally destroyed, they compensate by producing larger litters and expanding their range. Only in rare cases where an individual coyote is demonstrating unusual / aggressive behaviour or severe trauma or illness do animal control agencies capture coyotes.
If a coyote poses an immediate threat to safety, call 911.
The town has held numerous information evenings on Living with Coyotes featuring presentations by coyote and media experts. Videos and transcripts from previous meetings are available:
Video from January 31, 2012 Living With Coyotes community presentation
Meeting summary January 31, 2012 Living With Coyotes community presentation (pdf, 227 kB)
Managing your wild neighbours video from October 16, 2012
Video from September 15, 2011 Living With Coyotes community presentation
Visit the Oakville Public Library website for suggestions and books available on coyotes.
In addition, the town offers a number of other resources and links on coyote awareness and co-existence:
Living with coyotes backgrounder (pdf, 73 kB)
Coyote fact sheet (pdf, 118 kB)
Understanding our fear of coyotes (pdf, 135 kB) July 14, 2011, Michael Howie, Oakville Today
Education is the key to peaceful coexistence (pdf, 840 kB) July 7, 2011, Michael Howie, Oakville Today
Ministry of Natural Resources wildlife management
For more information on the program, review the April 17, 2012, press release.