Residents concerned after coyotes spotted on Old Sambro Road
While coyote attacks on humans are rare, residents are worried about pets and small children
January 24, 2020, 5:41 pm ASTLast Updated: January 24, 2020, 5:41 pm
A growing number of coyote sightings on Old Sambro Road has left residents concerned for the safety of their pets and children.
For the last few months, residents in the areas around Old Sambro Road have been voicing their concerns on community Facebook groups about the increased coyote sightings in the area.
The coyotes have been spotted by the lower end of Old Sambro Road near Sambro Elementary School.
Sambro resident Leslie Harnish is concerned not only for her small dog, but also for the children in her community.
She said she has seen coyotes in her yard and they appear to have no fear of humans.
“One man stopped his truck in front of my house when one [coyote] was in front of my driveway and tried to shoo it away with a stick, and it wouldn’t move. It refused to go and that’s not standard for them,“ said Harnish.
She’s especially worried for children who wait for the school bus and those who walk to school.
Coyotes rarely attack humans, but when they do it’s normally small, unattended children, explained Simon Gadbois, a Dalhousie University canid and reptile ethologist.
He said if people are concerned about the safety of their pets and children, the best thing they can do is keep their animals indoors and ensure children travel in groups and are under supervision outside.
Sometimes people leave food out for feral cats in the area, this could be why the coyotes don’t seem to fear locals.
“It’s not that people are feeding them [the coyotes] directly. It’s incidental feeding, by feeding the cats,” Gadbois said.
“Or sometimes just having an apple tree and not picking up the apples that fall is enough to bring coyotes to your yard.”
Gadbois suggested that with cold weather making it harder to find food, younger coyotes in particular may find cats easier to prey upon because they’re not as skilled at hunting as older coyotes.
When coyotes have an easy food source, they “will become bolder, familiarize or habituated and they’ll be a little bit harder to haze or deter,” explained Butch Galvez, a wildlife technician with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry.
Galvez has received only three calls about coyotes in the area, one of which was a secondary sighting.
“Often, people think [by] posting it on Facebook, someone else will make the call,” Galvez said. “But we had actually very little knowledge about [the coyotes].”
Galvez said he was going back to the community on Friday to compile more information before the department decides how to move forward.
Brendan Maguire, the MLA for Halifax Atlantic, said he received a dozen calls about coyotes in the last month from people in the Sambro area.
The area we keep seeing the coyotes, there is also a population of feral cats living down there. That is a big attraction for coyotes,” said Maguire.
To help deter coyotes from a neighbourhood, experts urge residents to not feed feral cats and to avoid leaving food outdoors that might attract the animals.
The Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry advises people to take safety precautions if they’re concerned. These include walking with friends, being aware of surroundings, walking with a stick or a noisemaker, walking pets on leashes, and never running, as that can motivate a coyote to chase you.
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