Residents concerned as coyotes roam the streets in Ottawa's south end at all hours of the day
OTTAWA -- More and more videos are popping up online of coyotes spotted in Ottawa's residential areas, specifically Riverside South, and venturing closer to humans.
Residents say they are concerned for their safety as the animals are being spotted at all hours of the day.
"We’re seeing increased activity that obviously causes some concern," says Chris McLeod, who shot video of one just outside his Riverside South house.
"Certainly some of them seem to have lost the fear of human interaction. So we’re seeing them right up on residential properties, put on the streets and the sidewalks, near the schools."
Residents have been calling on the city of Ottawa to do something about the coyote problem, but Coun. Carol Anne Meehan says we just have to get used to them.
"Coyotes are everywhere, they live in cities," says Meehan. "We can not shoot coyotes. We will not trap and relocate them. We can’t do anything to eradicate them. The only thing we can do is learn how to live with them."
Riverside South resident Jen Dey started a Facebook group to help people in the area keep track of the coyotes and also give people a place to voice their concerns.
"People are scared," says Dey. "They have children walking to school. They have dogs that they take for walks. I think most people actually appreciate the nature around us. But what they don’t appreciate is three coyotes at Steve Maclean (public school) at the end of the day when kids are getting sent home."
Just last week, staff at Steve Maclean Public School had to call parents to come pick up their kids, because three coyotes were roaming around the area just as kids were getting out of class.
Dean Hansen surveys wildlife in urban areas and says that its human actions, like leaving food and garbage out, that could be causing the coyotes to venture into the neighbourhood.
"We kind of created this situation, where it’s advantageous for them to be there," says Hansen. "In Riverside South, and places like Riverside South, they’ve learned that humans are not only not a problem, but they are a benefit to them for food, safety and shelter."
People who live in the area are still hoping something can be done about the coyotes to help them, their children, and their pets feel safe out on the streets.
"Someone with the right expertise needs to come in and take a look at it to see if this is behaviour that is keeping with the norm, or something that's more concerning that needs to be addressed," says McLeod.
Meehan says she is in the process of setting up a virtual information session this month with a series of speakers and wildlife experts, who will tell residents exactly what they need to do in order to reduce the threat.