Coyotes sometimes live alone but often live in family groups.
In Vancouver, mating pairs begin denning in January and their pups are born in spring. This is the time when coyotes are:
Protecting their dens
Seeking additional food for their litters
A coyote’s territory includes their den, while their home range is a larger area where they seek food and might overlap with the home ranges or coyotes.
Coexisting with coyotes
Coyotes are not native to Vancouver but have been thriving in the urban environment since the 1980s.
Understanding and respecting coyote behaviour allows humans and coyotes to peacefully coexist. Part of coexisting with coyotes is establishing and maintaining clear boundaries between humans and animals. This means:
Preventing coyotes from accessing human sources of food
Reminding them that humans are not their friends
In urban areas, coyotes are most often active at night to minimize their interaction with humans, but it is normal to see them during the day.
Never intentionally leave food on the ground or offer food to a coyote or other animal. When people hand-feed coyotes, they lose their fear of humans and may even seek us out as a source of food. Feeding coyotes, directly (purposely offering them food) or indirectly (by leaving food on the ground, not disposing of garbage properly, or feeding their prey like birds, squirrels and rodents) will encourage them to return to a specific area and put people at higher risk of encounters.
Keep your pets on leash except in designated off-leash areas. As natural predators, coyotes view smaller dogs and cats as prey. This is normal behaviour and it is our role to take responsible actions to prevent coyote encounters.
Dispose of waste in bins provided. Food attractants are one of the known causes of coyotes becoming habituated to humans and hugely increase the chance of conflict. Coyotes are intelligent and will return to areas where they can easily scavenge for food. Discarded garbage also attracts coyotes’ prey like birds, squirrels, and rodents. Do your part to maintain animals’ natural diet and keep coyotes at bay by disposing of garbage in bins throughout parks
When coyotes lose their fear of humans, your and their safety is at risk. Coyotes respond best when you clearly communicate that their presence is not tolerated. If a coyote approaches you, act aggressively by making yourself big and yelling. Consider carrying a can with coins to shake to make a startling noise. Most importantly, do not turn your back or run. Coyotes have a natural instinct to chase after prey.
Improving waste management by retrofitting and replacing garbage bins to prevent access by coyotes and their prey.
Enforcing Parks Control By-law that strictly prohibits the feeding of wildlife in any of Vancouver’s parks. Anyone caught feeding wildlife, including coyotes, birds, rodents, squirrels and raccoons is subject to a fine of $500.
Using proactive and strategic aversion conditioning to reinforce healthy coexistence.
Offering education and awareness to the public including updates about related activities or closures.
Supporting the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s Coexisting with Coyotes program, which reduces conflict between people, pets, and coyotes in the park and around the city. Coyotes and humans harmoniously existing in the park means humans avoid feeding or otherwise contacting coyotes and staying on marked trails. Coyotes use off-trail areas as necessary shelter and refuge.
Working closely with wildlife experts and the Province on long-term research and monitoring of coyote populations and behaviours within Vancouver’s parks.
This helps us track coyote behaviour and monitor populations throughout the city.
Normal behaviour can be observed at any time of day and includes:
Casually walking or trotting, not approaching humans
Leaving the area promptly when humans or pets are spotted
Escorting a pet or person out of their territory. This could look like the coyote is following you at a distance, but if it does not approach or become aggressive, this is normal. Continue walking and leash or pick up your dog.
Making noise, like yipping or barking
Coyote approaches, aggressive behaviour, or feeding of a coyote
Phone the Provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line on 1-877-952-7277 if you observe:
A coyote being fed by a human
Aggressive behaviour (a coyote running toward a human, or attempting to bite)
A pet or human come in physical contact with a coyote
An injured, dead or distressed coyote or a human handing a coyote experiencing distress
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