Thousands of British Columbians are calling on the province to stop the coyote cull it has planned for Stanley Park. Over the next two weeks, officials will be trapping and killing up to 35 coyotes.
This comes after 45 coyote attacks were reported in the past nine months in the park.
A petition started by Leilani Pulsifer a month ago, Save Vancouver’s Coyotes, has already gained more than 9,520 signatures (as of Saturday afternoon), and people continue to digitally sign their names.
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The petition has three goals.
One, is to urge the province to work with wildlife biologists and coyote experts to identify the aggressive individual animals, instead of killing all of them. Have the City of Vancouver and Park Board enforce the BC Wildlife Act, which states people cannot intentionally feed dangerous wildlife. Lastly, have the City pass a bylaw to prohibit the feeding of wildlife within the park and have an officer in the area handing out tickets to those who are found breaking the rules.
The Stanley Park Ecology Society is also speaking out about the coyote cull, releasing a statement, which reads in part, “SPES will continue to advocate for addressing the coyote problem at its source following the removal of the habituated coyotes. For ecological reasons, coyotes cannot be translocated nor rehabilitated.”
It is with heavy hearts that we write this today following the announcement of an imminent Stanley Park-wide coyote cull. SPES will continue to advocate for addressing the coyote problem at its source.
— Stanley Park Ecology Society (@StanleyParkEco) September 4, 2021
It also said coyotes will re-populate the park over time, adding the SPES, Park Board, BC Conservation Officer Service, and coyote experts are “making solid strides to future coyote populations from succumbing to habituation.”
The SPES said a pilot project is underway to see wildlife-proof garbage bins to prevent the animals from eating human food, as well as improved educational signage about wildlife feeding, and increased enforcement against feeding.
But, animal advocates are continuing to speak out about the coyote cull, expressing concern over how the animals will be trapped.
The Fur-Bearers are sounding the alarm about leg-hold traps that are used by trappers, claiming to be humane, saying the devices are “designed to hold a wild animal who will fight for their life to escape. Equivalent to slamming your hand in a car door.”
Leg-hold traps similar to these will be used in #StanleyPark. #BCgov & trappers will claim "soft-catch", "certified humane". Don't be fooled. Traps are designed to hold a wild animal who will fight for their life to escape. Equivalent to slamming your hand in a car door. #Vanpoli pic.twitter.com/7IMxswuahz
— The Fur-Bearers (@FurBearers) September 4, 2021
The group also said it learned through FOI documents no tickets have been issued related to wildlife feeding in three years in Stanley Park.
“It isn’t only the lack of communications that has allowed the Stanley Park situation to grow, but the lack of enforcement,” it said.
The Fur-Bearers is extremely sad to hear a cull is moving forward. This was preventable and is a black eye for the "greenest city" in Canada. Read our full statement at https://t.co/3m1stJKZ9Y @CityofVancouver @ParkBoard @SChandraHerbert @KatrineConroy #BCgov #BCpoli #Vancouver
— The Fur-Bearers (@FurBearers) September 3, 2021
On Instagram, Coyote Watch Canada shared a post by a wildlife photographer, Isabelle Groc, who said she is “deeply shocked and saddened” to hear of the decision to cull the coyotes in the park.
Groc also wrote, “I have been photographing Stanley Park for over 20 years and I have repeatedly witnessed people irresponsibly feeding wildlife, sometimes for decades, and getting away with it.”
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On Thursday, before Canadian group The Sheepdogs was set to perform at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, it tweeted “No damn coyote is gonna stop a Sheepdogs show!”
It went on to recommend concert goers get there before 7pm that evening because of the evening closures in Stanley Park, adding “let’s party in the park tomorrow night!”
But the tweet is drawing criticism over the remarks made about the coyotes.
Some called for the band and Park Board to cancel the show, while others questioned why it was still happening with the closures in effect.
I wish you would cancel your concert @TheSheepdogs, for the sake of saving coyote lives and ensuring public safety. Sad to see how you’re making light of such a serious situation. I hope you realize how selfish you are being right now. https://t.co/pgFFKDUGU6
— Rebeka Breder (@animallawcanada) September 4, 2021
Pulsifer also shared this video on the petition to explain more reasons why she would like to see the coyote cull stopped.