Thursday, January 21, 2016
Last night, a packed house at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School heard about coyote behaviour and what we all need to do to ensure a peaceful coexistence with wildlife in our community.
“Coyotes are part of our natural environment and they are here to stay. We all share responsibility for preventing and managing human-wildlife conflicts. Having the facts helps alleviate some of the fear and helps us to work together to create a safe environment for people and wildlife,” said Cindy Toth, director of Environmental Policy for the Town of Oakville.
According to last night’s presenters, which included representatives from the town, Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS), Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) and the Toronto Wildlife Centre, coyotes are not considered to be a significant risk to people. However, they are wild animals, and feeding coyotes, tolerating them on our property, and allowing pets to roam freely contribute to coyotes losing their inhibitions and fear of people.
Usually wary of humans, many coyotes are currently more visible in some residential areas as they are sick with mange. Coyotes with mange may frequent residential areas to seek easy food and warmth. Mange is not a threat to humans or pets and does not directly lead to increased aggression.
All of the speakers agreed that if embraced by the entire community, these tips can help alleviate conflicts and discourage coyotes from approaching people and private property:
The town works with agencies and community partners on a number of initiatives to address community concerns as part of the town’s wildlife management strategy; these include:
The town also works with HRPS to enforce by-laws put in place to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, such as:
Currently, the town is working with the OMHS to assist in locating and capturing one particular coyote that has displayed unusual aggressive behaviour over the last few weeks. The coyote has reportedly approached students at Oakville Trafalgar High School and is showing signs of being habituated due to intentional feeding and tolerance. Typically, capturing and relocating coyotes to more than one kilometre away from their habitat is not permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
HRPS is continuing to monitor the area to ensure safety. The OMHS continues to respond to calls from the public and sightings reported through the town’s online coyote reporting form.
Residents can report a coyote sighting or discover where coyotes have been sighted through the reporting form and online mapping feature.
Visit the coyotes page for more information on how to co-exist with wildlife.