The Real Story – Kilcona’s Coyotes
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON COYOTE SIGHTINGS AT KILCONA PARK
Over the weekend Winnipeg media reported that a Kilcona Park visitor was “swarmed” by a pack of coyotes.
Like most rumors, there’s a germ of truth in this story.
As the story went, the unidentified man and his dogs were in a very dangerous situation. The man was walking with his dogs after sunset when the coyotes allegedly began to circle him and his pets.
News reports indicated that the coyotes followed the man and his dogs from the park to their vehicle and that the coyotes continued to follow the vehicle as it left the park. Some authorities even speculated that the animals could be “coywolves” – despite fact that no coywolf populations have been identified in Manitoba.
Today the dog owner confirmed to authorities that these reports were inaccurate.
Authorities conclude that the coyote’s behavior was not at all predatory and the incident cannot in any way be described as “swarming”.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IS QUITE A DIFFERENT STORY.
THE DOGS – TWO IRISH SETTERS AND THE COYOTES INTRODUCED THEMSELVES WITH ALL THE USUAL BUTT-SNIFFING BEHAVIOR THAT WE SEE AT THE DOG PARK EVERY DAY.
Then they spent some time PLAYING TOGETHER.
THE COYOTES DID NOT FOLLOW THE VEHICLE AS IT LEFT THE PARK.
MB CONSERVATION HAS NO PLANS TO TRAP OR DESTROY KILCONA’S COYOTES.
MB Conservation reminds us that every major city in North America, including Winnipeg, hosts a large urban coyote population.
When coyotes move into the city, most blend seamlessly into the urban environment. Wary of people, they stick to the edges of developed areas, remaining largely unseen during the day.
Studies show that the most successful coyotes are nocturnal—an adaptation they’ve developed to avoid humans. Most rely neither on family pets nor garbage for food. Instead, they stick to rodents, berries and other fruit, deer, and rabbits.
Coyotes have learned how to co-exist with us. Now it’s up to us to do our part.
There are three types of behaviors that people may mistake for aggression in coyotes: following, staring and howling and yipping.
Following: Coyotes are highly intelligent, curious creatures, very much like our own dogs. It’s not uncommon for them to follow hikers, joggers, or cyclists, particularly if they have a den nearby. This behavior is curiosity, not aggression.
Staring: Perhaps the most intimidating thing a wild animal can do is simply stare. Those big eyes watching you can seem very frightening. It isn’t about aggression; however, it’s about caution. You might be near a den site, a food source, or even have just startled the coyote. Most of the time, the coyote is watching you because you’re a big, frightening animal, and they don’t know what you’ll do.
Howling and yipping: The cacophony at night is amazing to hear, and it’s also frequently misunderstood. The scientific explanation is quite simple. What you’re hearing is the family’s GPS. Coyotes use howls and yips to let other family members know where they are, and to let other coyote families know that this is their territory.