City of Burlington taps into Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry coyote experts

Burlington, Ont.—Sept. 13, 2022— The City of Burlington has met with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Provincial Services Division to gain expert advice on the current situation and next steps to deal with a family of aggressive coyotes in south central Burlington.

MNRF staff shared the following information with City staff:

  • The number one point the experts state is that under no circumstances, should coyotes be fed by humans. When people feed coyotes, intentionally or unintentionally, coyotes become familiar with humans, are no longer afraid of humans and show more and more aggressive behavior, as is being seen in south central Burlington. From what City staff shared with MNRF scientific and veterinary experts, the experts are convinced these localized attacks are coming from coyotes who have been conditioned to see humans as a food source. This creates an environment where wildlife is conditioned to be comfortable with direct human interaction and may come to depend on humans for food. Once a coyote crosses the boundary of acceptable interaction with humans the coyote must be eliminated for public safety, due to a situation they did not initiate.
  • MNRF staff advise that this is likely one localized, family of coyotes who may be depending on humans for food. The coyote that was eliminated after the first three attacks was most likely the father and taught the other coyotes in the family to behave this way. This type of aggression is learned from the parents and once it is learned, it becomes ingrained and the behavior cannot be changed.
  • This family of aggressive coyotes is likely roaming within a two to three square kilometer area even though they are known to travel up to 15 square kilometers. Since coyotes are territorial, the experts advise this is one family creating this cluster of isolated attacks.

The City has received reports and photos of a bushel of corn left and frozen meals on the Centennial Multi-use Trail close to the site of the last attack. This must stop as it is attracting and conditioning the coyotes to be relieving on human feeding, leading to aggression and attacks on residents. Residents are being asked to report their concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife to Animal Control at animalservices@burlington.ca or 905-335-3030 and are reminded that hand and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the City’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (49-2022) and is subject to a fine.

City of Burlington Animal Services staff are patrolling the area to locate this family of coyotes and their den. They are also working with a Certified Wildlife Control Professional to eliminate the family of coyotes.

City of Burlington staff will present a report to council on coyote management recommendations at the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 am for approval at the City of Burlington Special Council Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at noon.

The City is asking residents to continue to be vigilant in these areas and report coyote sightings using the form at burlington.ca/coyotes. Whistles are still available to help residents haze coyotes and can be picked up at Service Burlington and Burlington Public Library branches.

Anyone attacked by a coyote is advised to seek immediate medical attention and report the attack to the Halton Region Health Department and to the City of Burlington Animal Services at animalservices@burlington.ca or 905-335-3030.

Municipalities are responsible for taking appropriate actions to manage resident coyote sightings, encounters and attacks and take appropriate action. If a coyote attacks a person, the City has a Council approved Coyote Response Strategy in place that is currently being followed to prioritize and deal with this situation.

Burlington is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at burlington.ca/subscribe and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, Burlington City Council approved a Coyote Response Strategy that provides guidelines on preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.
  • These are the first reported coyote attacks on humans in Burlington.
  • Usually, hazing coyotes is the best course of action to manage human interactions. When aggressive coyote behavior leads to attacks on humans, the best solutions is to eliminate the aggressive pack. Sterilization or birth control is a long term strategy that is time and cost prohibitive and not recommended by wildlife experts.
  • Coyotes are native to North America and can be found living in urban and rural areas.
  • Food sources like mice, rats, and garbage are readily available in urban areas, attracting coyotes to residential neighborhoods.
  • Concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife can be reported to Animal Control at animalservices@burlington.ca
  • Hand feeding and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the city’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (49-2022) and is subject to a fine.
  • To request an audit of your yard for coyote attractants by city Animal Control staff, please email animalservices@burlington.ca.

Quote

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I cannot stress enough how critical it is not to feed wildlife, either intentionally or unintentionally. Feeding wild animals causes them to lose their fear of humans and that can lead to aggressive behavior, including attacks. Once they attack a person, it’s our responsibility as a municipality to eliminate those animals because that behavior cannot be unlearned. Please make sure you properly dispose of your food waste so that it does not become a potential food source for animals. We all need to do our part to keep each other safe with the wildlife that lives among us.”

Links and Resources

Pictures

A bushel of corn and frozen meal trays illustrating intentional feeding of wildlife at Centennial Multi-use Trail and Cumberland AvenueA bushel of corn and frozen meal trays illustrating intentional feeding of wildlife at Centennial Multi-use Trail and Cumberland Avenue

A bushel of corn and frozen meal trays illustrating intentional feeding of wildlife at Centennial Multi-use Trail and Cumberland Avenue

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Media contact:
Carla Marshall
Communications Advisor
carla.marshall@burlington.ca

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