Have you seen a coyote in Toronto? A few weeks ago when I was out for a walk at Ontario Place I saw a coyote near the pond by the Cinesphere keeping an eye on the many ducks who were staying well away from the shore. I also often see them on the train tracks where the UP Train travels. Toronto residents who live near ravines and forests – typical coyote habitat – can expect an increase in coyote sightings during this time of year. Coyotes are active day and night, but prefer to hunt after dusk or before dawn.
Residents should follow these steps to minimize negative encounters with coyotes:
- Avoid feeding them. Feeding wild animals, including coyotes is detrimental and can create problems for the neighbourhood.
- Avoid feeding pets outdoors.
- Ensure that all household garbage is inaccessible to animals.
- Place garbage out on the morning of the scheduled pickup, rather than the night before.
- Always supervise pets – keep dogs on a leash and keep cats indoors or supervised when outside.
The City has a coyote response strategy that it follows when dealing with coyotes, and includes public education, a bylaw that prohibits feeding of wildlife, and criteria for the removal of coyotes, if necessary. An attack or bite on another animal is not grounds for removal, as this is normal coyote behaviour.
Where a coyote is injured or sick, Toronto Animal Services will investigate to determine whether the coyote can recover on its own or be captured and brought to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the coyote will be located back into the area from which it was captured when it has recovered.
Coyotes have become a natural part of the urban landscape in Toronto and are an important part of the ecosystem as they control rodent and rabbit populations. They thrive in urban areas because of the abundance of food and shelter available to them.
For more information, visit the city’s website: http://toronto.ca/coyote or call 311.