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Stanley Park coyote cull is result of human mismanagement: lawyer

Last Updated Sep 5, 2021 at 3:57 pm PDT

FILE — Vancouver's Stanley Park remains closed between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. due to the aggressive coyote problem. (Image Credit: CityNews)
Summary

An animal rights lawyer says trapping and killing the Stanley Park coyotes is not the solution

Since December 2020, more than 40 people have been injured in an attack, including several children

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — In the next coming weeks, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests plans to trap and kill up to 35 coyotes after an alarming number of unprovoked attacks on humans. But one animal law expert says it’s the bad behaviour of people and bad management that’s the problem.

Animal law lawyer Rebeka Breder says it’s really disappointing to see how local governments have dealt with the rise in coyote attacks, and she has strong words for the City of Vancouver and the Park Board.

“From a legal perspective, the City, and the Park Board specifically, has been completely negligent in the way that they handled this,” she says. “They fail to take appropriate action when they could have like even simple steps like wild proofing garbage bins, better signage, studying the issue, because clearly what’s going on is unusual.”

Related Article: Thousands sign petition to ‘Save Vancouver’s Coyotes’

Then, there’s enforcement — under B.C.’s wildlife act, Conservation officers can ticket people caught illegally feeding wildlife. 

Breder believes some people need to get a $500 fine to finally learn a lesson — she says it’s human negligence and selfishness that has put coyotes in this situation and public safety at risk as well.

“Why on earth have they not been enforcing the law that prohibits people from feeding wildlife, and why have they not been ticketing people? That’s a huge problem.”

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Breder has a lot of concerns around culling as she wonders how the province will know they’ve killed the coyotes of concern.  

“Killing is not the solution. It really isn’t. It is not a long-term solution … There are two main reasons for that.

“First one being is that unless you kill every single coyote — which is almost impossible to do, because we don’t even know how many coyotes are in the park — that could actually it’ll leave a smaller population in the interim, but that smaller population is going to start breeding and that could actually lead to an unintended higher population of coyotes. And the other reason culls don’t work, is because other coyotes will just move in and then what, [we] kill [them] again?”

Breder adds she also believes killing the coyotes, in general, is “completely inhumane.”

“They are trying to appease the public by saying things like ‘coyotes will be humanely euthanized and that this whole process right now is ‘humane,'” she says, adding she strongly disagrees it will be “humane”.

“This whole situation is completely disheartening and very disappointing.”

Since December 2020, more than 40 people have been injured, including several children. Seven coyotes have already been euthanized by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for a stop to the planned cull of coyotes in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

– With files from Charlie Carey