SURREY — A fearful mom in North Surrey has reported yet another coyote trying to grab a toddler, this time in a busy playground.
Inspector Murray Smith, of the BC Conservation Officers Service, says the animal’s days are numbered.
“Our option is to get fortunate, and if the coyote is there, to take it out,” he told the Now-Leader. “We’re going to shoot it. We’re going to shoot it with a rifle or a shotgun, and destroy it.”
In a playground or schoolground?
“We wouldn’t have a choice,” Smith said. “Our staff are extremely experienced with discharge of firearms and we’re all trained, and certified on a yearly basis. This is what we’re experienced with.”
Guildford resident Leana Margolis said that on Tuesday night a coyote “came dashing over” and tried to grab her two-year-old daughter at a playground at Holly Park, four blocks from the first incident.
“I can assure you that the coyotes are still a danger to children,” Margolis warned.
“They’re obviously very hungry. Why would they hang around the playground and the school yard? They’re very hungry and my daughter’s two and she has very little hair and is very chubby. You know, she could be a rabbit, the size of a large rabbit or a small dog.”
Earlier this week the Now-Leader reported that a coyote appeared to stalk and take down a four-year-old girl Monday evening on a sidewalk in front of Mary Jane Shannon Elementary school, located at 10682-144th Street.
Smith said the COS had an officer stationed near the school on Tuesday, but “we didn’t have any luck.”
Margolis’s was the second case reported to the BC Conservation Officers Service in Surrey this week.
Smith said the coyote’s behaviour is abnormal for the species.
“This is very unusual habits for a coyote. We’re not going to have a bunch of coyotes that have no fear of people, that are approaching people, because that’s just not what they do. We’ve got to respond to this because it’s very unusual behaviour.
Smith said a live trap would not work because coyotes won’t go in it. “They’re way too cunning.” Nor is it a good area to use leg hold traps, which would endanger people and pets.
“There isn’t really an easy solution to this. We want to remove the coyote.”
Margolis said local pets have been disappearing.
“I know what coyotes go after, they go after little dogs,” Margolis said. “There’s dogs and cats disappearing in the neighbourhood.”
“It was in the playground, not in the field,” Margolis said of the Holly coyote. “There was parents, there were children there. He came right in the middle of everything, with the parents and the kids there, which I found so strange. I wasn’t expecting that.”
“I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and in that moment my four-year-old was having a bit of a meltdown, so I went over to her and then at that minute the coyote came. Two men jumped in. He was aiming at her, and he was like touching her. He did not grab my daughter because the two men dashed right in. The coyote came so fast, like super fast, like sprang in there and the two men luckily, basically save my daughter from at least getting grabbed.”
“It is scary.”
Meantime, Smith advises residents to check out tips posted at stanleyparkecology.ca on co-existing with coyotes and if they see an aggressive coyote, to call the BC Conservation Officers Service’s 24/7 tip line at 1-877-952-7277.
Files from Katya Slepian