There have been about 250 sightings of this animal in the city, a much higher number than in previous years.
The city of Montreal is known for the large number of squirrels that inhabit its parks and gardens. It is also common to run into foxes and raccoons. However, the Montrealers are beginning to worry about the growing presence of another wild animal: the coyote.
Between June 2017 and present day of 2018 there have been about 250 sightings in the city, especially in the neighbourhoods of Ahuntsic and Saint-Michel. An extremely higher number compared to previous years, according to data provided by the municipal government. So much so, that the authorities have requested the help of experts in wildlife management.
In the middle of last September, a neighbour Francine Paulin, strolled at night with her chihuahua in a park in the Saint-Michel district when she ran into a coyote. “In a few seconds he pounced on my dog, he wanted to eat him, he grabbed him by the neck and took him away, I was screaming for him to stop,” Paulin told TVA. At least five other people have suffered bites and scratches and ten pets have been attacked so far.
The neighbours are alarmed, because they have seen several coyotes near a nursery and a school, the municipal authorities have pointed out several times that, according to academic studies, most of these animals avoid contact with humans in urban areas, because the risk to be attacked is low.
So far, 15 of these carnivorous have been trapped, 12 of them have been returned to the forests and three had to be slaughtered due to the wounds they suffered when they were captured, and two others, killed by the police because of their aggressiveness.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Montreal published a statement in December where it was against any action towards the coyotes in which they could be injured.
In addition, the society affirms that it is possible to cohabit peacefully with the coyotes if they are prevented from feeding and if care is taken with the garbage.
Patricia Presseau, biologist at the Zoo Ecomuseum Park, explained at Radio-Canada that the increase in the number of coyotes in Montreal is due to deforestation in nearby areas. “Currently [the coyote] has problems in its own territory, we are destroying it, it has adapted to the urban environment,” Presseau said. In addition, the expert says that if coyotes are close to humans it is because people give them food.
The City of Montreal offers several tips to the people of Montreal, in case of meeting one of them, they recommend, for example, not to feed them and that children be taught not to approach wild animals under any circumstances.
According to the text, if a neighbour crosses baths with one of these animals, it is best to keep calm and give the animal the necessary space to flee. “If the coyote does not leave or if his reaction is aggressive, show an aggressive action by raising your arms, make noise to scare him, move slowly backwards and maintain eye contact with the animal,” explains part of the document.