Coyotes spotted in Cardinal Creek

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Residents in the east are being asked to report any coyote sighting to the city of Ottawa after residents in the Cardinal Creek area have spotted the animals in their neighbourhood.

Orléans Coun. Bob Monette said he’s received two e-mails about coyotes in the suburbs and is “very concerned.”

He explained there have been issues with the wild canine in other areas of the city and some animals have been killed in those locations. Coyotes have become such a nuisance and perceived threat in other areas that there’s even been a call for a coyote cull. “These are animals that are hungry,” Monette continued, adding it’s nothing for a coyote to kill a small dog. “We have to be careful.”

A message on the Cardinal Creek Community Association’s Facebook page warns residents coyotes have been spotted in the community. “If you see or hear coyotes, please call the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 to report your sighting so they can track and manage this situation,” the update states.

Some residents have responded to the warning, one noting she lives near a ravine and has seen coyotes at least once a week over the past year. She added she saw one walking along the path off Peppergrass during a Friday evening last fall.

Another resident expressed fear, convinced tracks leading up to their door belonged to a coyote. Others, meanwhile, have indicated they wake up at 4 a.m. to the howls behind their homes.

Monette said it’s important people report these sightings so the city knows where these animals are being spotted, how many there are and if they’re growing bolder. He added he doesn’t support trapping the animals as a first step, but if the coyotes are ranging closer to residential areas then he can support the move to trap the beasts.

Monette said he’ll be talking with Osgoode Coun. Doug Thompson about how the problem has been managed in his ward, where a controversial coyote hunt contest is underway.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal Creek Community Association has posted a link to an Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) guide to living with coyotes. “In an effort to coexist with wildlife, consider the enormous hardships these intelligent and fascinating wild species encounter because so much of their habitat has been destroyed,” the OSPCA guide starts. “Each year they are forced into closer contact with humans and must compete with us for food, shelter and space.”

To deter coyotes from taking up residence near homes, the OSPCA recommends garbage or food waste not be left outside in accessible areas and clearing away brush or weeds close to the home that could be used as shelter.

Those who encounter a coyote should leave the area calmly, don’t make direct eye contact and not turn their back to the coyote. If coyotes are spotted in the yard, the OSPCA recommends making them feel unwelcome with loud noises or by spraying them with a hose.

As for family members, teach children to respect wildlife and keep their distance, and don’t allow dogs outside at night unsupervised, the OSPCA advises.

Calls to the Cardinal Creek Community Association were not returned by press time. Have you seen or heard coytoes in your east-end neighbourhood? Are you concerned about encroaching wildlife? Please send your comments or stories to patricia.lonergan@transcontinental.ca

Organizations: Cardinal Creek Community Association, Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Geographic location: Ottawa

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