Winnipeggers are being warned to watch for coyotes after several have been spotted around the city, from East Kildonan to St. Vital.
Bill Peters was getting a head start on Christmas shopping Sunday. He was driving down University Crescent when he spotted what he thought was a stray dog.
“My wife actually said, ‘No, that’s a coyote,’” he said.
Peters’ wife Roula took out her phone and started recording.
As they made their way onto Markham Road, the coyote continued walking along, almost reaching Pembina Highway.
Peters has lived in University Heights for more than 20 years and said this is unusual.
“There’s lots of wildlife here. We get deer. We get raccoons occasionally, but I’ve never seen a coyote here before,” he said.
A coyote resembles a medium-sized dog and varies in colour from reddish-brown to grey.
The Province of Manitoba said coyotes breed in late winter and their pups are born in spring. They learn to hunt in the summer and come fall they leave the den.
According to the province it’s virtually impossible to estimate the number of coyotes there are in Manitoba, though they are considered abundant. While coyotes are now more common in urban and suburban areas, they still frequent forests and wetlands.
Coyotes can be seen anytime during the day but are most active at night when they search for food and defend their territory.
The province said they are known to kill or injure pets, especially small dogs or cats.
“It made us think twice about taking the dog for a walk through the park,” said Peters. “I think we’ll stick to the roads in our neighbourhood. Maybe go a bit earlier in the day.”
Peters is sharing his encounter as a precaution to others.
While Peters has some concerns for his family, he also worries for the coyote.
“I didn’t want to see anything happen to it, so there’s some concerns for the animal’s safety, as well,” Peters said. “That’s what I came away with, you know, an appreciation of how beautiful they are.”
COYOTE SIGHTINGS IN WINNIPEG AREA
Over the last few years, the number of coyote sightings in the Winnipeg area has increased slightly. The province said there’s no way to tell whether the number of coyotes is increasing or if people are becoming more aware and multiple people are reporting the same animal.
So far this year, the province has received 60 reports of coyote sightings, while last year there were 49. In 2016 there were 54 and there were 30 in 2015.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A COYOTE
The province said if you encounter a coyote there are a few things you can do:
1. Don’t approach it, and give it an escape route.
2. Stop and remain calm.
3. If it seems unaware of you, move away quietly.
4. If it does see you, let it know you’re human by shouting, waving your arms over your head to appear larger, and throwing stones or other objects at it.
5. If it continues to approach you, slowly back away. Do not turn away or run, because that could encourage it to chase you.
6. If it does attack you, fight back.
There was no information available on when the last coyote attack occurred.