Defensive coyote mothers force path closures in Calgary
Denning season could put pets and pedestrians enjoying Calgary paths at risk
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They may be cute, but be warned: coyotes with little pups can be defensive.
The City of Calgary was called by Fish and Wildlife officers after reports of denning coyotes near well used and loved park pathways.
After finding out that momma coyotes were making a popular walking ridge in Panorama Hills overlooking the Country Hills Golf Course a nursery, it became clear that, to protect both humans and wildlife, the path would need to be closed.
“The den isn’t near the trail closure,” said city Parks Ecologist Tanya Hope. “We’ve closed the trails off, so people have an access point to leave.”
The city hasn’t heard of any encounters between animals and humans yet, but a coyote’s motherly instinct could make an encounter with the animal aggressive complete with posturing, nipping and moving toward the invader.
“If that was to happen to you what we ask is that you don’t run, you stand as tall as you can, be as loud as you can, make noise and back away slowly,” Hope said.
To help the city out, anyone who enounters a defensive coyote should contact 311 with as accurate a location as possible; as denning season progresses, Hope said more closures could come as staff examine the reported area.
Tarv Bajwa, a resident in the area was biking on the ridge with his daughter when he noticed the path closure Thursday evening.
“I’m sure coyotes live down on the ridge, and there has never been any issues so far,” Bajwa said. “Last weekend we were biking down the ridge and a coyote was sitting right next to the pathway, we passed by and it was OK, but it was too close for comfort.”
He said he’s seen the den and assumed the coyote had a litter there. They’ve also heard coyotes in the neighbourhood backyards, howling along with police car sirens.
“Obviously it’s a local wildlife haven here for snakes and coyotes, and I’ve seen a moose on the golf course down there,” Bajwa said. “It’s great for us.”
Hope said it’s about co-existing with the wildlife. And to help with that citizens are encouraged not to feed the animals and clean up any debris, dog poop or other attractive snacks the coyotes might seek out. Keeping animals on leashes is also key, small pets could be at risk.
Hope said it’s hard to tell how long the pathways will be closed for but it could be weeks.
What do they look like?
Where exactly are the closures?
- In natural area behind houses on Panton Rd. and Panton Ld.
- North of Country Hills Golf Course from Country Hills Blvd. to Panorama Hills Hts.
Panorama Hills (in natural area behind houses on Panton Rd. and Panton Ld.)