A lone coyote looks into the camera

Coyote awareness and coexistence tips for park visitors

April 2 2024 –

Vancouver’s coyotes are in the midst of their breeding and denning season and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is reminding the public how to respect and interact with the animals to support peaceful coexistence.

Coyotes begin breeding in January, and by now, new litters are beginning to emerge. During this period coyotes become more active as they establish dens, guard their territories, and gather extra food for their pups. 

Coyotes usually appear at dawn and dusk, but currently they are more visible during the day as they become more assertive to protect their young. This could look like guiding humans and pets away from their dens and adopting a more defensive stance when feeling threatened.

Found across the city, coyotes tend to choose secluded, forested spots for their dens to nurture their young. In response, Park Board staff may temporarily restrict access to certain busy trails, such as those in Stanley Park, to minimize disturbing the animals.

As the likelihood of coyote sightings increases, we would like to remind the public of how to support peaceful coexistence with all of Vancouver’s wildlife so that humans and animals can enjoy the city's green spaces without experiencing negative interactions.

Tips for peaceful coexistence

  • Never intentionally leave food on the ground,or offer food to wildlife. Food attractants are the main reason coyotes becoming habituated to humans and hugely increase the chances of conflict.
  • Respect trail closures to ensure denning coyote families are not disturbed.
  • Keep pets on leash at all times, except in designated off-leash dog areas.
  • Dispose of waste in bins provided.
  • Give wildlife space. If you see a coyote, slowly back away. If the animal approaches, act aggressively by standing tall and yelling. Most importantly, do not turn your back or run. Coyotes have a natural instinct to chase and will pursue.

What the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is doing to support coexistence

  • Monitoring for any feeding of wildlife which contravenes the Parks Control By-law that strictly prohibits this in any Vancouver parks. Anyone caught feeding wildlife, including coyotes, birds, rodents, squirrels and raccoons, is subject to a fine of $500.
  • Adopting proactive and strategic aversion conditioning to reinforce healthy boundaries with wildlife and avoid developing patterns of aggressive behaviour in new coyote populations.
  • Offering education and awareness to the public, including updates on related activities or closures.
  • Supporting the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s Coexisting with Coyotes program, which reduces conflict between people, pets, and coyotes in Stanley Park and around the city.
  • Working closely with wildlife experts and the Province on long-term research and monitoring of coyote populations and behaviours within Vancouver parks.

Report coyote sightings and behaviour

The Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) tracks coyote behaviour and monitors populations across the city. Coyotes exhibiting normal behaviour, e.g. casually moving through their habitat; yipping/barking; leaving the area when humans or pets are spotted; or escorting a pet or person out of their territory by following at a distance, can be reported to SPES online or by calling 604-257-6908, ext 104.

Concerning incidents such as coyotes behaving aggressively; being fed by humans; a pet or human coming into physical contact with a coyote; or an injured/dead/distressed coyote should be reported immediately to the Provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line on 1-877-952-7277.

For more information on coyote behaviour and coexistence, visit: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/urban-coyotes.aspx