Why B.C. Conservation Officers stole a coyote's hard-earned lunch - InfoNews

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Why B.C. Conservation Officers stole a coyote's hard-earned lunch

This deer has returned to the wild after being rescued from Skaha Lake.
Image Credit: Clayton Debruin
January 20, 2020 - 7:30 PM

It's a sight you might see anywhere in the wilds of British Columbia: A coyote running a deer to exhaustion and moving in for the kill.

But on Saturday, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service and local firefighters stepped in to rescue the deer and now explain why.

Four members of the Okanagan Falls Fire Department, two ice technicians from the Penticton Fire Department and a Conservation Officer spent more than an hour rescuing the deer from the ice of Skaha Lake in Penticton, Jan. 18. The Penticton Fire Department’s ice rescue team walked onto the ice and brought the animal back to shore with the assistance of an ice rescue pole system.

Conservation Officer Clayton Debruin said he believes the deer was exhausted and unable to move after being hunted by a coyote. The predator was circling the deer when emergency crews arrived on scene, he said, and had already bitten off part of its tail. 

He said a large part of his mandate is to assist animals in distress. While the coyote's aim and purpose was clearly to distress the deer, DeBruin said there were two other factors that warranted action.

He said they wanted to ensure coyotes and other unwanted predators aren’t drawn to residential neighbourhoods. The entire scene was also playing out in front of every lakefront home and they couldn't guarantee someone wouldn't put their own lives at risk to attempt their own rescue.

“It’s not only for humane reasons. If you have an injured deer bleeding out in the middle of the lake, people share a concern for wildlife and for (the animal’s) well being. We don’t want people walking out onto the ice,” he said.

The deer has since been released back into the wild. Presumably, the coyote had to start over again somewhere else. 


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