News / Edmonton

UofA researcher says residents need to get loud with urban coyotes

Next time you see some coyotes, scream at them.

An Edmonton researcher is recommending residents assert themselves with coyotes, to help keep the animals wary of humans.

Shawn McCready / Flickr

An Edmonton researcher is recommending residents assert themselves with coyotes, to help keep the animals wary of humans.

A researcher studying Edmonton’s coyotes said adding staff to deal with their increasing numbers, as proposed earlier this week, is good but she’s got another suggestion.

Scream at them.
 
University of Alberta professor Colleen St. Clair heads up the Urban Coyote Project, which has been studying the animals for years, and told city council Tuesday that Edmontonians need to assert their territory with coyotes.

“Put simply, they should yell at them, throw rocks at them,” she said. 

St. Clair said it’s not about harassing or harming coyotes in Edmonton but instead keeping them scared enough of humans that they will keep a safe distance.

The reason, she said, is logistics. As the city grows and coyote habitat is suddenly home to humans, the problem will become too big to deal with using wildlife officers.

 “There just aren’t enough employees, enough of those resources, to be able to do all of that work,” she said. 

Educating people to yell and assert their space is part of the solution, she said.

“Humans and urban wildlife can share space more successfully if they don’t share it at the same time,” she said.

Councillors heard Tuesday the number of encounters with coyotes are growing considerably with 4,000 calls to the city last year and as many as 5,000 anticipated this year.

St. Clair said she hopes the city will try to create soft solutions to the problem, encouraging residents to talk to their neighbours about garbage and other food being left around.

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