Montreal holding coyote information sessions in response to rise in sightings
If Montrealers are seeing more coyotes these days, it could be because more Montrealers are feeding them, according to outdoor educator Jennifer Marchand.
“[Coyotes] understand that humans are not to be feared, that they can be fed by them, so they change their habits,” Marchand said Sunday in Ahuntsic-Cartierville’s Basile Routhier Park, as she was giving an information session on the animals’ presence in the city.
There has been a spate of coyote sightings in the past year in Montreal, Marchand said.
Coyotes in Montreal are nothing new — they’re known to cross the des Prairies River from Laval along the train tracks and follow the rails into different parks at night, looking for food — but several residents who saw them over the summer noted the animals acted overly familiar.
No longer fearing humans as much
Some of the coyotes even went as far as following the residents, looking to be fed.
“We don’t know why this is happening, really, this year,” Marchand said. “The City of Montreal and [Quebec’s Wildlife] Ministry are searching for the answer, but we only have hypotheses.”
Development along the island’s north shore may also be pushing coyotes out of the shadows and into the residents’ sight lines, Marchand said.
The city has commissioned the organization Marchand works for, Guepe, to give information sessions like Sunday’s in a number of Montreal parks so that residents can know what to do when they see one.
Usually, a coyote will run away when someone approaches. But if they’ve been fed by humans before, that person may no longer seem like a threat.
‘Be the predator you’re supposed to be’
If a coyote draws near, Marchand urged people to “be the predator that you’re supposed to be.”
“You have to be big, you have to be loud and you have to [scare] them,” she said.