Coyote traps removed from Ontario park after backlash
Published Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:02PM EDT
A city in southwestern Ontario has removed coyote traps from a popular park after images of a trapped animal were shared online.
Following reports of aggressive behaviour from coyotes towards dogs, the city of Cambridge hired a certified wildlife agent to place three-leg hold traps in busy Churchill Park.
Such traps are often marketed as “humane” as they are designed to clamp onto an animal’s leg without drawing blood or breaking bones.
On Tuesday, local resident George Aitkin was out for a run when he spotted a male coyote with its front leg in one of the traps. He posted photos of the struggling animal on Facebook, which were then shared by Coyote Watch Canada, a not-for-profit that advocates for coexistence between humans and coyotes.
In an online campaign, Coyote Watch Canada urged concerned citizens to contact city officials to get them to remove the “cruel” traps. The group’s social media posts were shared thousands of times.
"Any animal that's captured, no matter what device style it is, an animal against its will is going to cause great damage,” Coyote Watch Canada executive director Lesley Sampson told CTV Kitchener.
According to city officials, the trapped coyote was released within a one-kilometre radius of the park, as per Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry guidelines.
Sampson, though, expressed doubts that the coyote was properly released.
“We question the one kilometre because we haven't had any reports come in that there's been a coyote limping,” she said. “We would like to see (a) guarantee and more evidence that this coyote was actually released.”
A female coyote and pups are still believed to be in the park, causing the city to close trails for fear that the male will return to be with its family.
Coyote Watch Canada and the city are telling residents not to feed the coyotes and to always keep their pets on leashes when in the park. If approached by a coyote, the say that you should stand tall, make noise and back away slowly.
“Of course if I see one close to me or my kids, I'm going to be afraid,” local resident Carina Ferrara told CTV Kitchener from the park, which now sports coyote warning signs.
“The city has to do something about it, but not hurting them as well because they have the right to live."
With a report from CTV Kitchener’s Daryl Morris