If you spot a coyote ‘lounging in a park’, don’t be alarmed, Mississauga residents told

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Published December 18, 2023 at 2:17 pm

Mississauga residents learn to live with coyotes in their midst

The number of reported interactions between people and coyotes in Mississauga continues to be on the decline — and city officials want to keep it that way.

In an aggressive and ongoing information campaign that constantly reminds residents to not feed coyotes or any other wild critters — either intentionally or unintentionally via improperly discarded food — City of Mississauga officials took to social media today to deliver the message once again.

“Coyotes are a vital part of our urban ecosystem, helping to control populations of rodents and other wildlife,” the city’s online message from Animal Services staff begins. “You may spot coyotes walking along roads and sidewalks or lounging in a park. Be sure to take care and maintain enough distance if you do spot one.

“Coyotes are often attracted to urban communities because of the availability of food and shelter. As coyotes are wild animals, you must be aware and take necessary precautions to co-exist safely with them.”

Animal Services officials who’ve been trying for years to keep coyotes and other wild critters away from people in their neighbourhoods and parks warn residents that even a seemingly harmless act such as feeding the birds can lead to big problems.

Wildlife experts at the city said earlier this year that the number of coyote/human interactions the past 12 to 24 months or so is declining, according to recent numbers.

That trend suggests to city officials that fewer people are feeding the critters.

Animal Services says that people who in most cases have the best and kindest intentions wind up doing more harm than good by leaving food out for animals — both to the wild animals and potentially to themselves and their neighbours as well.

“Feeding wildlife can unintentionally lead to negative consequences for both animals and people,” officials said in an earlier media release. “Handing out bread, nuts or leftovers to hungry animals may be an act of kindness, but in reality it can condition wildlife to rely on humans for food. Doing so can lead to some unintended consequences.”

In addition, feeding the critters can also have a significant financial impact on the culprit. People caught feeding wildlife in Mississauga are subject to a minimum fine of $300.

“This includes leaving food out, disposing of food waste or providing food in natural areas,” officials said.

 

An earlier video released by the City of Mississauga Animal Services department.

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