Coyotes in southern Interior getting early start on mating season thanks to mild weather | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Coyotes in southern Interior getting early start on mating season thanks to mild weather

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
January 25, 2021 - 7:00 AM

A recent rash social media reports about coyote encounters in the Thompson-Okanagan may be related to the fact it's that the wily canine's breeding season is about to get underway.

WildsafeBC coordinator Vanessa Isnardy says her organization has even noticed people reporting encounters with coyotes through social media and she recently received an email from a Kamloops couple who were approached by coyotes as they walked their dogs in a dog park.

“We’re asking people to report unusual coyote behaviour to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service so it shows up on the WildSafeBC reporting program," Isnardy says. "Letting the conservation officer service know also allows them to convey that information to other people not on social media."

Coyotes in the southern Interior will begin breeding in early February until mid-March. Litters averaging five pups will start to appear in April and May.

“The most important thing for dog owners to be aware of is the potential for conflict with coyotes, especially if the dog is off leash,” Isnardy says.

She urges dog owners to use extra caution over the next few weeks, not only in rural areas but within urban areas as well.

“Many communities in the Thompson-Okanagan have lots of ingress through green belts and travel corridors from the wild into the community, and places where properties back onto wild spaces," she says. "It’s pretty common for people to have an encounter with a coyote."

Pet owners encountering a coyote with small dogs should pick it up right away. Be assertive, give the coyote space and back out of the area.

Dog owners should also be mindful coyotes can scale a six or seven foot fence, so caution should also be exercised when letting dogs out in the yard at night.

Because it’s breeding season, coyotes can be a little more aggressive, so it’s important to avoid areas where they are denning, and avoid walking pets at dawn or dusk, when coyotes are most active.

“Encounters can happen any time of the day. During breeding season, coyotes will also demonstrate an ‘escorting behaviour’ that feels like they are stalking you. What they are doing, however, is attempting to lead you away from the area around their den. It can look like they are following you, when in fact they are ensuring you are leaving the area,” Isnardy says.

Isnardy says it seems as though the changing coyote behaviour is early this year.

“I could be mistaken, I don’t have any data to back it up. But it could be with the mild weather, maybe they’re getting friskier earlier,” she says.

To report a conflict with wildlife, call the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.


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