Killing a portion of Vancouver’s Coyote population
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
Even rock superstar Bryan Adams lent his voice through Twitter to protest the culling initiative.
Vancouver and much of the surrounding province is known and renowned for its picturesque, natural expanse; but alongside the views and the vegetation are the wild animals that call these areas home. For Stanley Park, this includes a group of coyotes.
Since January, CTV News has reported upwards of 40 separate incidents of biting or nipping that have been attributed to these animals with many of the victims being children. These attacks provoked the BC Ministery of Forests to announce a plan to fence off and restrict access to Stanley Park as well as to begin culling 35 coyotes.
These plans for culling were met with local opposition in the form of a UBC student named Leilani Pulsifer starting a change.org campaign to prevent the culling; the online petition has gained over 23,000 signatures at the time of writing. In Pulsifers’ petition, it is argued that culling coyotes will likely result in increased reproduction or immigration, thusly negating the positives of a decreased population. It is also argued that coyotes help maintain a balance in the ecosystem to the benefit of all animals therein.
In addition to the petition from Pulsifer, rock superstar Bryan Adams lent his voice through Twitter to protest the culling initiative. Adams protested the culling by pointing out the failures of previous initiatives saying: “Look what happened when they wiped out the wolves in Yellowstone. They had to rewild them back [sic] to balance the ecosystem.”
Also on Twitter, the group known as Coyote Watch Canada (CWC) commented on a post by Vancouver is Awesome outlining the four Coyotes that had been killed and speculating that less than had originally been estimated may actually live in the park. CWC’s tweet argued that a minimum of 10 Coyotes had been killed and that this may have been one or two families of the canid. On the group’s website they state that “people conclude they are seeing multiple coyotes when, in fact, the same coyote is making numerous visits to the same area.”
The issue of feeding Coyotes is addressed in Pulsifers’ petition which calls for stricter enforcement of BC Wildlife Act 1 Section 33.1, which prohibits feeding wildlife. The petition also urges the City of Vancouver to pass a municipal bylaw prohibiting the feeding of wildlife and to ensure personnel are stationed to enforce this new provision via ticketing.
As to who is to blame for the problem, when interviewed by CTV News, Edward Kroc, an assistant professor at UBC, believes that funding given to the park board has not been allocated to maintaining the eco-system, leading it to become a “garbage pit for people to play in.” Kroc also believes that the cull should be halted until the province has better knowledge regarding the animals they aim to kill.