Course:CONS200/2021/Coexisting with urban wildlife: A case study of Stanley Park’s Coyotes

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Coyotes were first spotted in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the 1980s[1]. Specifically, coyotes have been seen in Stanley Park since 1988[2]. In the park, there have been conflicts of coexisting with coyotes. Coyote attacks on humans increased which caused the park to go into close for some time. For that reason, several mitigation strategies and perspectives developed. For instance, the Co-existing with Coyotes program was created by the Stanley Park Ecology Society. This program has shared methods of dealing with the human-coyote conflict such as a plan to educate the community surrounding Stanley Park.[3] In contrast, there have also been methods of culling up to 35 coyotes by The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations.[4] These solutions have various impacts and, thus, are evaluated in the following sections.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park 1890s. Image from City of Vancouver

Brief History

Stanley Park was established in 1888 as Vancouver’s first city park. Before the establishment of the park, it was a ceremonial site for First Nations which then became used as a military reserve. When the military reserves became part of the Canadian government in 1871, the City of Vancouver requested the government to replace the military reserve with a public park.[5]

After the park's approval, the Park Board began projects of species introduction and removal to make the park more aesthetic and available for recreational purposes[6]. In 1911, they purchased grey squirrels from America to boost the native squirrel population.[6] Further, the board allowed the Vancouver Gun Club to shoot crows between 1910 and 1961 as the crows were making unpleasant sounds and impacted bird populations[6]. They also made the park more aesthetic by constructing man-made ponds for the duck and swan species.[6]

Stanley Park 2019. Image from City of Vancouver

Stanley park has high environmental value. It is known for its dense forests with many types of tree species and being surrounded by water. The park attracts a lot of species including eagles, beavers, coyotes and seals. Many of the species have adapted to living with humans by adjusting their habitat preferences and diets.[7]

The Pacific Great Blue Heron is an example of a species that has found safe nesting sites in Stanley Park as their natural habitat in the Fraser River delta was being affected by urban development.[8] The herons are considered to be living in harmony with people visiting the park. For instance, when visitation were reduced in 2020 due to COVID-19, the heron breeding season was not impacted: “Last year’s monitoring results fall within range of those of previous years suggesting breeding success is not strongly affected by human activity around the Stanley Park colony."[8]

Current Statistics and Explanation of Recreational Use and Visitors

Since its opening, Stanley Park has attracted many visitors to the park. Data prior to COVID-19 has estimated that the park receives approximately 8 million visitors a year[9]. The availability of recreation amenities provide many activities for visitors. Some of the recreational amenities are listed as follows:

- The Vancouver Aquarium

- Hiking trails

- Beaches

- Second Beach pool

- Golfing

Data from 2016, includes a record number of visitors to the Vancouver Aquarium of about 1.17 million people[10]. There are 27km of trail where visitors can look at some of the oldest trees[11]. These examples of visitors coming to Stanley Park offers perspective on how many interactions may occur between humans and wildlife in the park.


Characteristics, Habitat and Lifestyle

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are members of the Canidae family. Other species found in this group are wolves, dogs, foxes, jackals and dingoes.[12]

Their appearance looks similar to a small Shepherd breed dog. Coyotes, however, are grayish brown with some tints of red. They also have a black-tipped tail and longer ears. Coyotes are also half the size of a Golden Retriever and bigger than foxes.[13]

Coyote. Image from CTV News

Coyotes are typically nocturnal species. In urban areas, however, they can be seen during the day. This can be dangerous for dog owners as Coyotes are known to take small pets when they are left unprotected.[13] It is possible to hear them howl or yip. They are social animals and live in packs but oftentimes in urban areas you find them living as individuals.

Their habitats are dispersed. In North America, there are 19 subspecies and they can be found in both urban and remote areas.[13] They live in caves or dens found in the base of a tree, where they raise their pups.[14]

A common behaviour in coyotes is stalking prey or humans which is usually a sign of curiosity. It is often mistaken for aggressive behaviours.[14] When stalking humans, they tend to follow and use cover to hide. When stalking pets, it usually means they wait until the pet is left unprotected. If the coyote does become aggressive, this behaviour is shown through its body language.[14]

Stanley Park's Coyotes

Synurbanization of Coyotes

The term "synurbanization" refers to the phenomenon of feral animals adapting to, and even benefitting from, urban living, while "synthanthrope" is a term used to describe said animals.[15] Among the most notable of synthanthropes in North America is the raccoon, accompanied by the likes of coyotes, beavers, foxes, and Canada geese. As cities expand, some species have been negatively affected by the destruction of their natural habitats while others have profited from an environment with abundant sources of food, warmth, and protection from predators.[15] These species have adapted to urban landscapes through higher population densities, reduced migratory behavior, prolonged breeding seasons, greater longevity, prolonged circadian rhythms, and changes in feeding behavior.[16] Synurbanization and the growing population of synthanthropes pose new challenges for wildlife managers and urban planners, who must strike a balance between the needs of the animals and desires of the public.[15]

Today, coyotes have colonized virtually every city in North America.[15] Coyotes made their initial appearance in the urban landscape of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the late 1980s[17], attracted by the city's numerous green spaces, food supply, and rodent population. Their sudden appearance incited much heated discussion among the public; there were talks of a cull, a trapping and relocation program, a public education campaign, and doing nothing at all. Attempts to relocate the first coyotes sighted in Vancouver using box-traps with raw meat failed, as not one of the animals would enter the trap.[17] By the end of the 1990s, there were multiple reports of coyotes losing their instinctive fear of people, missing outdoor cats and small dogs, and children being bitten.[16] This caused widespread panic and demonstrated the need for an organ sized and effective response, and in 2001, the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) began the Co-existing with Coyotes public education program.

A sign posted in Stanley Park warns people not to feed coyotes in January, 2021. Image from Global News

Recent Conflict

Between the coyotes first arrived in Vancouver in the 1980s and late 2020, only eight coyote attacks on humans had been recorded.[18]

Since December 2020, more than 40 people, including five children, have been attacked in Stanley Park by a population of 35 coyotes.[4] The unprovoked attacks resulted in several injuries ranging from minor scratches and cuts from nipping or biting to a two-year-old-child who was taken to the hospital after the attacks.[4] The series of attacks lead to successive rounds of culls where 11 coyotes were captured and killed, and a complete closure of the park to the general for three weeks in September 2021 to allow for overnight trapping and culling.[19]

The attacks also sparked debate over the reasons behind the rapid rise in aggressive behaviour. Wildlife experts largely attribute the coyote-biting incidents to the COVID-19 pandemic and change in patterns of human use in parks; mainly the increased feeding of wildlife as human visitation to parks increased throughout the pandemic.[4] Feeding of coyotes results in wildlife habituation, and causes coyotes to lose their fear of humans as well as their bite inhibition. It is a death sentence, as coyote researchers and advocates say there is no solution to other than trapping and killing when a coyote starts biting.[19]

Current Strategies and Perspectives

The Culling of Coyotes

Coyotes became the center of debate when they began creating conflict within the Vancouver region. The media, then, saw the chance to report incidents of dangerous coyotes, which produced fear and misunderstanding within the community.[3] In fact, when focusing on primary articles, there is a potential bias by the print media for selecting negative encounters as it is “compelling news."[20] Adjectives associated with coyotes in the print media are often used to demoralize the character of the species.[20] For example, descriptors such as vicious, menacing, and brazen are used.[20] These misleading portrayals of coyotes can produce misunderstanding, fear, and negative reactions towards the animal. Specifically, these misunderstandings have influenced extreme reactions to the coyote conflict in Stanley Park, calling for park-wide culls.

Culling” is an act of wildlife control where animals in a group are killed to reduce their abundance. This method is favoured by some people for dealing with the human-coyote conflict in Stanley Park. For instance, as coyote attacks increased, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD) stated that it will be taking further action.[4] They noted that non-lethal efforts would not be successful due to the large coyote population and changed behaviours.[4] Further, they stated that the relocation of coyotes is not an option as they would produce conflict with the new populations they are introduced to.[21] Therefore, the ministry announced its two-week plan to trap and euthanize up to 35 coyotes.[4] This euthanization of coyotes is highlighted in the “Category 1 Response Guideline” from the ministry’s Human-Coyote Conflict Response Guidelines.[22]

Research by the City of Vancouver, however, has shown that a large-scale culling of coyotes is not an effective or reasonable method for the following reasons:

  1. Previous coyote incidents show that majority of coyote issues are individual problem animals, not entire populations.[2] Thus, the removal of individuals usually solves the problem.
  2. Biological data demonstrate the resilience of coyote populations.[2]  When the population is facing pressure from the culling, social structure can break down and result in younger individuals breeding to compensate for losses in population.[20] In other words, coyotes can increase their birth rate as compensation.
  3. There are liability problems for people and pets in densely populated urban areas.[2]
  4. Culls in other cities have been expensive, met with limited success, and the benefits of reduced populations last for short periods of time.[2]

Co-existing with Coyotes

Coyotes provide ecological benefits in complex, social-ecological urban systems.[20] They are a keystone species and provide multiple trophic functions that are critical in urban systems.[20] For example, the existence of coyotes in ecosystems allow bird populations to be maintained through the suppression of small carnivores such as feral cats.[23] Therefore, such ecological benefits have called for human-coyote coexistence strategies in dealing with the conflict in Stanley Park as it provides numerous benefits.

The Co-existing with Coyotes (CWC) program was created in February 2001 after consultation meetings with the government, environmental agencies, and animal-welfare agencies.[17] This program, run by the Stanley Park Ecology Society in cooperation with the Provincial Ministry of Environment and the city of Vancouver, aims to provide public information sharing and long-term management of coyotes.[3] Particularly, the program aims to decrease conflict between people, pets, and coyotes by providing information and direct response to problem individuals.[17] The CWC program provides 5 key factors to aid with human-coyote coexistence and are listed as follows:


Hazing refers to scaring away the coyote. The program emphasizes the importance of this action as it provides safety for people, pets, and coyotes.[24] In particular, hazing enables the modification of coyote behaviour of creating and maintaining their boundaries.[24] The program provides instructions on how to properly scare away coyotes such as raising your arms, yelling, and avoid running.[24] Further, the program highlights the need to appearing aggressive in deterring coyotes.[3] For example, physically chasing a coyote out of a neighbourhood with noisemakers repetitively has shown a sharp decrease in sightings.[3]


The program notes that the best way to manage coyotes is with people power.[24] This can be achieved by educating the community of coyotes as it yields better safety for everybody. The SPES program offers a variety of educational materials such as rack cards, posters, door-to-door information slips, and school information kits.[24] These can be emailed, printed, or posted to inform communities of coyotes. Further, the program offers a “Co-Existing with Coyotes” education presentation at schools or community events.[25] These presentations include an auditorium-style presentation for elementary school audiences with skills to identify coyotes, recognize attractants in neighbourhoods, and recommended encounter behaviour.[3]

Do Not Feed Coyotes

Giving food to coyotes leads to poor health and safety for the animal and community. As they are fed, they lose their fear of humans and develop an aggressive behaviour.[24] Additionally, it is an offence under the provincial wildlife act to feed wild animals which include coyotes.[24]


Keeping your house and yard clean will aid in human-coyote co-existence. As coyotes as scavengers, they may find opportunities of eating on your property, which can produce similar effects of feeding them.[24] For example, coyotes may eat garbage, compost or leaves, pet food, tree fruit, or rodents.[24] Hence, ensuring that your property is clean can help ensure that coyotes are not being fed by accident.


The SPES program suggests that a fence can keep coyotes away from your property.[24] As the animal can jump up to 6ft, fences need to be at least that tall to ensure that coyotes will not get in.

Evaluation of Current Solutions

Evaluation of Hazing

Hazing is a popular strategy for wildlife management. The goal of hazing is to humanely condition animals to avoid humans.[26] There are two forms of hazing: proactive and reactive. Proactive hazing targets a population, takes place before a conflict with humans has occurred, and aims to prevent the development of unwanted behaviours. Reactive hazing attempts to change the unwanted behaviour of individual coyotes.[27]

Factors for Success:

Ideally hazing should be proactive. The success of proactive hazing relies on educating communities on how to adjust their own behaviours in order to prevent unwanted coyote behaviour.[27] Community planning is another important factor. For hazing to be effective, communities need to decide which spaces can be used by coyotes, agree upon acceptable and unacceptable coyote behaviour, and recognise potential conflict hotspots through reporting and surveying. It is then essential to be persistent and consistent at discouraging Coyotes from areas that they are not wanted.[26]

Areas for Consideration:

  • It is important for the public to be actively engaged in scaring and hazing coyotes at every encounter; however, coyotes are often ignored until unwanted behaviour starts to emerge, which leads to reactive hazing instead of the more effective proactive approach.[27]
  • It is possible that if coyotes are only hazed by a few people they may learn to identify these individual humans through scent and uniforms.[26]
  • Methods need to be adaptable to account for different coyotes.[26]
  • Some situations may require a detailed analysis combined with specialist high-intensity hazing by trained personnel.[26]
  • Proactive hazing is reliant on a management plan, resources and funding. Sufficient funding can be a barrier to long-term public education and hazing plans.[27]
  • For hazing to be successful, effective enforcement to prevent intentional feeding of coyotes is critical.[27]
  • The presence of a dog can decrease the effectiveness of hazing.[26]
  • Communities need to be knowledgeable on not hazing coyotes at active den sites or near pups, and on not hazing injured or sick coyotes.[26]
  • There are often both resident and transient coyotes within a coyote population. Proactive hazing, which should be used repeatedly over time, is suited to resident coyotes, but reactive hazing may be needed for transient coyotes.[27]
  • Studies have contained limitations and there is currently a need for more published data on the effectiveness of hazing.[26]

Community-level hazing can be an effective way to increase knowledge about coyotes and create informed attitudes towards them.[27] In its simplest form, hazing should give a clear message that combines body language and gesture with sound and visuals.[26] However, there are many factors that need to be taken into account, and therefore hazing should be part of a coexistence strategy with the support of management plans, resources and funding.

Evaluation of Lethal

When lethal methods have been used they are usually reactive, and remove targeted individual coyotes after severe human-coyote conflicts. There is some evidence from the Denver Metropolitan Area, Colorado, USA, that with isolated events of severe urban coyote conflict (4.5 per year), the reactive removal of targeted coyotes usually resulted in severe conflicts not reoccurring for several years.[27]

Areas for Consideration:

  • All coyotes may have a deeply ingrained trait of aggression towards dogs, and therefore lethal removal should only be considered for aggression that is directed towards people, or extreme aggression towards pets, such as dogs on leashes being attacked.[27]
  • The lethal removal of certain coyotes, may potentially reduce the transfer of cultural and/or genetic behaviour in the population; however, little is know about how unwanted behaviour is developed by coyotes.[27]
  • It can be difficult to ensure that it is the targeted coyote that is lethally removed and not a different coyote.[27]
  • With lethal control the root of the problem isn’t addressed, and therefore conflicts will continue and so will lethal methods.[27]
  • It is recommended to not assume that lethal methods are required for advanced coyote habituation, and for there to be more research into the plasticity of coyote behaviour.[26]
  • Coyote Watch Canada has shown aversion conditioning can change the behaviour of coyotes judged to be at irreversibly high levels of habituation.[26]
  • It is possible that nonlethal methods can potentially in the long term be more effective than lethal methods. The evidence against the effectiveness of lethal methods for mitigating human-coyote conflict is increasingly powerful.[26]

Evaluation of Translocation

Although often supported by the general public as a humane alternative to lethal methods, there are many reasons why capturing and translocating wildlife is not an option in most situations, and post-release survival is low.[28] Risks of translocation include death of the animal; stress responses (behavioural, biological, and physiological); animals transporting diseases or being exposed to new diseases; liability, for example, an animal injuring a person in the new location, or spreading disease; and homing behaviour (Coyotes are known to have a potential homing distance of 48km).[29]

When translocation is used for conservation, it is usually a group of animals from the same social group. These animals are moved together, with many considerations taken into account, and carefully introduced into an area where the species’ population is low.[29] However, moving family groups can create genetic bottlenecks that alter the genetics of an urban population.[28]

Evaluation of Managing People

In urban areas people usually have no experience with wild animals. The result is that the root of human-wildlife conflict is often human behaviour, which is connected to knowledge, beliefs, opinions and the media. Managing people is vital to coexistence. It is critical to recognize human behaviours that lead to conflict, and work out how they can be addressed for coexistence.[30]


Human-coyote conflicts in urban areas often involve certain individual coyotes, who have developed overly bold and aggressive behaviour primarily towards pets in the presence of people.[27] One of the main causes of conflicts is off-leash dogs, but this shouldn’t be viewed as aggression directed at humans.[26] In addition, pets being left outside attract coyotes and is a high risk behaviour.[30] Education and enforcing leash laws can help to mitigate these conflicts,[26] which often result in emotional trauma to pet owners,[28] as can closing trails near active den sites in order to avoid the consequences of normal coyote behaviour.[26]

Feeding Coyotes

A fear of wildlife can create conflict but so can a love of wildlife; for example, from intentionally or unintentionally feeding coyotes by leaving out food.[30] Effective enforcement to prevent intentional feeding of coyotes is critical.[27] Coyote attacks on humans and pets are often the result of food sources created by humans (e.g. vegetable gardens, garbage) bringing coyotes into residential areas and causing coyotes to no longer fear humans; however, sometimes people are unaware of this risk because they don't realise that coyotes are living in their area.[30]

Scaring Coyotes

Urban coyotes behaving aggressively is thought to be a result of the absence of negative consequences from being around humans, and how humans choose to interact with coyotes.[27] People don’t always understand that there is a connection between human behaviour and coyote behaviour and subsequent conflict. Not shouting and making physical gestures to scare a coyote away can lead to coyotes no longer being afraid of people; however, many people do not feel comfortable distressing coyotes.[30]

Human Attitudes

Sociocultural attitudes can influence how humans choose to coexist with coyotes, independent of actual conflict or risk, and predict support for lethal or nonlethal management strategies.[28] For example, dogs are often more widely accepted than coyotes, but since 1960 there has been around 4.7 million dog bites in the U.S., but only an average of 3.5 coyote attacks on people per year.[30]

Social media and news can have a significant influence on the public’s opinion of coyotes[28], as can the understanding of what appears to be aggressive behaviour. The definition of aggressive coyote behaviour needs to be better defined and more nuanced. For example, defensive-aggressive behaviour is often incorrectly seen as offensive-aggressive behaviour.[26]

How to Manage People

It is important that people know that feeding coyotes and not scaring them away prevents coexistence.[30] Human behaviours that can lead to conflict are often connected to animal lovers. Educational materials which explain what types of human behaviours avoid conflict, and thus protect coyotes, should prioritize targeting animal lovers. Organizations and businesses connected to animal lovers, such as veterinarians and pet stores, could help spread appropriate educational information.[30]

Managing people is an area of research that can help reconciliation ecology move beyond birds and pollinators to large carnivores such as coyotes.[30] Social and cultural values, and not actual impacts, often play an important role in whether a human-wildlife interaction is considered negative or positive, whether or not an interaction takes place, and the types of interactions.[31] Therefore, psychology and sociology are important areas of study in understanding, managing, and mitigating human-wildlife interactions. Social scientists have a role to play in coexisting with urban wildlife, in collaboration with wildlife managers and restoration ecologists. The field of coexistence would benefit from multidisciplinary research into how urban wildlife behaviour is affected by humans actions. If we don’t learn to coexist, and urban areas continue to grow, large predators could disappear.[30]

Policy Recommendations

Change Terminology

Our word choices can influence the stories we create and therefore our beliefs and attitudes. The term ‘habituation’ is linked to having fixed measurements of defining problem coyote behaviour, and using fixed scales to determine levels of intervention, such as lethal or non-lethal. Coyote Watch Canada recommends that the term habituation is replaced by ‘proximity tolerance’. They believe that habituation is normally thought of as being a  permanent characteristic of a ‘problem animal’; whereas, proximity tolerance shows that behavioural characteristics are fluid and be changed by human interventions.[26]

Human-wildlife conflict is the term used to describe negative interactions.There is currently no term to describe positive human-wildlife interactions.[31] Without such a term our stories of coexisting with coyotes are at risk of being one sided.

Recognize Human-Wildlife Benefits

Human-wildlife conflict has been the most researched area so far; however, benefits of human-wildlife interactions are also important, such as wildlife playing beneficial roles in urban ecosystems, or having an intrinsic value; for example, coyotes can help support bird populations by controlling smaller mesopredator populations. Education is important to helping people understand the benefits of urban wildlife. It is important that the vital roles that wildlife play in urban ecosystems are recognized, valued, and part of the norm when residents think about human-wildlife interactions.[31]

Plan Urban Areas for Coexistence

During the development of urban areas, the impact on wildlife should be considered, along with strategies to mitigate potential human-wildlife conflicts. Knowledge on how species are affected by urban areas is important for urban planning and the following should be considered:[28]

  • Impacts of urban areas on the evolution of wildlife.
  • How modelled projections of future urban area development may affect wildlife.
  • Current and potential conflict zones, and how habitats can be altered to help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Connectivity between wildlife habitats to prevent road accidents, and support gene flow between populations.
  • Green urban infrastructure, such as wildlife corridors, to not only allow wildlife to safely move through urban areas, but to also provide areas for wildlife to avoid humans.

Value Holistic Coexistence Approaches

Coyote Watch Canada has a four point coexistence approach of Prevention, Investigation, Education, and Enforcement: Prevention of conflict is the main aim through education, enforcement, and hazing to keep suitable boundaries between humans and coyotes; investigation aims to discover the root cause of conflict (feeding is usually at the root of most problems, but changes to infrastructure and off-leash dogs also have an impact); targeted education campaigns are important to address issues of intentionally or unintentionally feeding coyotes, and on how to behave around coyotes; and enforcement of bylaws is necessary to prevent feeding.[26]

More Research Involving Multidisciplinary Actors

The issue of how to coexist with urban wildlife requires more research involving multidisciplinary actors. If through involving multidisciplinary actors we can learn how to flourish with urban wildlife, this will provide much needed habitats for wildlife and support essential biodiversity in our urban areas.

Evolutionary Biologists

The ways humans manage coyotes in urban areas may have an affect on evolutionary changes. For example, hazing may select for plastic phenotypes, and lethal methods that remove coyotes displaying unwanted behaviours may select for less bold phenotypes. Evolutionary biologists should work with policy makers, urban planners, the social sciences, and wildlife professionals.[28]

Urban Ecology

With urban areas continuing to increase, and biodiversity continuing to decrease, urban ecology is an important discipline which is growing quickly, but we still have much to learn about wildlife in urban areas and human-wildlife interactions. More research on how unwanted behaviours in coyotes develop is important,[27] and equally as important is more research to advance our understanding of the benefits of urban wildlife.[31] All research should involve multidisciplinary actors, as previously mentioned, including residents and all community members.

Recognize Impacts on Coyotes

We should also consider the impacts on coyotes of coexisting with humans. For wildlife, the presence of humans, and trying to avoid humans, may create a landscape of fear which controls their daily activities and use of time and space. Carnivores, especially mammalian, may come into contact with other competing carnivores as a result of avoiding humans. However, urban human recreational trails often fragment habitats, reduce refuges, and make if difficult for carnivores to avoid humans and each other.[28]

The rapid growth of urban areas has created habitat loss and many species have struggled to survive. By finding ways to coexist, species who have adapted to surviving in cities can be supported.This can bring benefits to human communities through biodiversity and supporting the balance of ecosystems. For reconciliation ecologists, urban greenspaces can help solve the problem of habitat loss and people becoming disconnected from the natural world.[30]

Recommendations for Stanley Park

During the 2021 human-coyote conflicts in Stanley Park, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development were involved in a reactive response.[32] Stanley Park Ecological Society’s (SPES) Co-Existing with Coyotes program seems to the main policy for a proactive approach to reducing “conflict between people, pets and coyotes.”[33] The SPES programme’s main emphasis is on educating the public within Stanley Park and the wider community. Education is a vital component of coexisting with coyotes, but moving forward there are additional policy recommendations that could be applied in Stanley Park. These include considering stressful impacts on coyotes of dog walking in certain areas of Stanley Park, recognizing stressful impacts on coyotes of the presence of humans in their habitat, and more research into the root of the question of how to successfully coexist with wildlife in urban areas. For sustainable, long-term, equitable coexistence with coyotes in Stanley Park, more research involving multidisciplinary actors (including experts and the community) is essential in areas such as coyote evolutionary changes, urban ecology, how unwanted behaviours in coyotes develop, urban planning, the specific coyote population in Stanley Park (including location of dens and size of territory), and how to manage people (especially dog walking and feeding of coyotes). If the territory of the coyotes in Stanley Park extends throughout Metro Vancouver, then all human influences within Metro Vancouver, including urban planning, could be affecting human-coyote conflicts within Stanley Park. Coexisting with urban wildlife is a complex and interdependent subject. SPES’s Co-Existing with Coyotes program is well thought out, but it should be part of a much larger strategy and network that focuses on research and building solutions into the planning and management of our urban spaces, and not solely on mitigation strategies to try and reduce conflict.

As urban areas grow and replace natural habitats, we have a responsibility to learn how to coexist with urban wildlife. We can’t blame coyotes for being in our neighbourhoods unless we provide them with an alternative. Current solutions to coexisting with coyotes do not address the root of the question of how to coexist with wildlife in urban areas: they are mitigation strategies that react to conflict or try and reduce conflict, but they are not real solutions. Through asking the right questions and involving multidisciplinary actors we have a duty to find sustainable, long-term, equitable solutions where urban wildlife in a valued part of our urban communities.


Co-existing with wildlife has implications which has been apparent in the case of Stanley park coyotes and humans. Synurbanization has occurred with coyotes where they have adapted to live in urban settings. With COVID-19 and the changes in the use of Stanley park, however, coyotes have changed their behaviours. These behaviour changes have lead to aggressive reactions towards humans such as biting and scratching. Although coyote culls have been implemented by the FLNRORD, the Co-existing with Coyotes program has offered alternative solutions including hazing and not feeding coyotes. Majority of the current policy recommendations include mitigation strategies to reduce conflict. An example is enforcing leash laws as the presence of dogs decreases the success of hazing. Issues, however, surrounding co-existing with wildlife are still being evaluated and, therefore, is in need for more research to be conducted. Some of these could include marking the dens of coyotes, finding out the potential expansion of their habitat with its impacts, or surveying residents surrounding Stanley park to find out which changes the community would be willing to take.


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  22. Conservation Officer Service. Human-coyote conflict response guidelines. Retrieved from the Government BC website:
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  25. "Coyote School and Outreach Programs". Stanley Park Ecology Society. Retrieved November 3, 2021. |first= missing |last= (help)
  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 26.13 26.14 26.15 26.16 26.17 Sampson, Lesley; Van Patter, Lauren (Fall 2020). "Advancing best practices for aversion conditioning (humane hazing) to mitigate human-coyote conflicts in urban areas". Human - Wildlife Interactions. 14 (2): 166–183 – via ProQuest.
  27. 27.00 27.01 27.02 27.03 27.04 27.05 27.06 27.07 27.08 27.09 27.10 27.11 27.12 27.13 27.14 27.15 Breck, Stewart W; Poessel, Sharon A; Bonnell, Mary Ann. (Fall 2017). "Evaluating lethal and nonlethal management options for urban coyotes". Human - Wildlife Interactions. 11 (2): 133–145 – via ProQuest.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 28.7 Schell, Christopher J; Stanton, Lauren A; Young, Julie K; Angeloni, Lisa M; Lambert, Joanna E; Breck, Stewart W; Murray, Maureen H. (Jan 2021). "The evolutionary consequences of human–wildlife conflict in cities". Evolutionary Applications. 14 (1): 178–197. doi:doi:10.1111/eva.13131 Check |doi= value (help) – via ProQuest.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Mengak, Michael T. (July 2018). Wildlife Translocation (PDF). U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services. line feed character in |publisher= at position 31 (help)
  30. 30.00 30.01 30.02 30.03 30.04 30.05 30.06 30.07 30.08 30.09 30.10 Elliot, Elizabeth E; Vallance, Suzanne; Molles, Laura E. (Sep 2016). "Coexisting with coyotes (Canis latrans) in an urban environment". Urban Ecosystems. 19 (3): 1335–1350 – via ProQuest.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Soulsbury, Carl D; White, Piran C. L (1 July 2015). "Human–wildlife interactions in urban areas: a review of conflicts, benefits and opportunities". Wildlife Research (East Melbourne). 42: 541–553. doi: Check |doi= value (help) – via BioOne Complete.
  32. City of Vancouver (January 22, 2021). "Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation launches coyote education campaign".
  33. Stanley Park Ecological Society (2021). "Co-Existing with Coyotes". Retrieved December 8, 2021.

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