Two more people suffered coyote bites in Mission on Monday morning (Sept. 18), bringing the total number of incidents up to nine in five days.
The Conservation Officer Service (COS) is investigating the incidents and working to find the coyote or coyotes involved in the attacks.
Conservation officer Todd Hunter says Monday’s attacks happened between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. near the Walmart parking lot and Mission RCMP station respectively.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s six bites all occurred within five hours of each other between 5:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. with one attack involving three workers in the same area.
Conservation officers patrolled the areas, including Lark Street, Starling Avenue, River Place and Raven Avenue.
On Friday, a man stopped cycling to take a photo near Lougheed Highway along Nelson Street at roughly 9:30 a.m. and was bitten by a coyote. A Mission man was bitten by a coyote on Sept. 6 as well.
“It’s very difficult and unsettling to a number of people, so we are taking it seriously and we have a response plan in order to try to intercept the offending animal,” Hunter said.
Hunter says the COS will work with local police and increase patrols during the timeframe the attacks have been happening. It’s currently unknown how many coyotes could be involved in the incidents.
“Hopefully, we can effectively remove the individual that [is] causing some of this concern or identify if it’s one and then remove it to ensure the public safety. Then we’ll back off and see if that’ll work,” he said.
A COS Facebook post on Friday stated that if conservation officers must put down a coyote in a specific area to ensure public safety, they will isolate and target the individual offending animal.
“We haven’t identified any coyotes or have removed any we feel are responsible so far,” Hunter said.
According to Hunter, the coyote behaviour is indicative of people feeding it.
“We strongly urge the public not to feed coyotes or predators. Case in point, this stuff happens. We know it does. We have the science, we have the background — feeding wildlife can lead to these types of behaviours,” Hunter said.
If someone is found feeding a coyote, the COS will enforce it with a violation ticket or a court process.
The COS is collaborating with the City of Mission on public outreach efforts, including signage and patrols.
“We want to let people know that we’re taking it seriously. We’re working with the city and local police here, and we’re continuing efforts to ensure that we reduce coyote conflicts before they happen,” Hunter said.
The COS urges people to take precautions in case of coyote encounters, including leashing pets, considering keeping cats indoors and travelling in groups.
“Remain vigilant, especially in the Mission area. Don’t let kids play by themselves. If you’re walking in … wooded areas, make sure that small children and pets are close by,” Hunter said.
Coyote conflicts and the unlawful feeding of dangerous wildlife can be reported to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.