People want to know more about coyotes in Mississauga, city says

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Published February 9, 2024 at 10:38 am

Coyote meeting in Mississauga

While the number of reported interactions between people and coyotes in Mississauga continues to decline, public interest in the critters appears to be on the rise.

That’s the impression of City of Mississauga officials, who in response to a growing number of queries from residents will hold a public information session about coyotes next Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Feb. 15 Coyote Information Session is being held at Burnhamthorpe Community Centre and is open to all residents. Those who can’t attend in person can participate online.

Animal Services officials will be on hand to present information about coyotes and educate residents on how people can coexist with the animals in urban environments. They’ll share information about coyote behaviour, mating season, safety tips and how to report coyote sightings or encounters.

Officials will also answer any questions from those in attendance.

City spokesperson Irene McCutcheon said in an email to insauga.com that interactions with coyotes have been trending down and that the public session is not being held as a result of increased sightings, reports or coyote/human interaction.

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“We have lately been seeing increased resident interest in safety tips and information regarding coyotes, so we are taking the opportunity to provide an education session for all Mississauga residents to share information and provide an opportunity for them to have their questions answered,” she continued. “We will be seeking more opportunities to engage with residents on topics like this one in the future.”

Mississauga officials launched an aggressive public information campaign two or so years ago that constantly reminds residents to not feed coyotes or any other wild critters — either intentionally or unintentionally via improperly discarded food.

The bottom line, they’ve said countless times, is to not encourage coyotes to feel comfortable approaching people and homes in search of food. Instead, officials add, the goal is to keep the wild animals in their own natural environment, which is best for both the roaming beasts and residents.

“Mississauga is home to a lot of wildlife, including coyotes. Coyotes are native to North America and live in natural areas, including suburbs and cities,” city officials said in a news release announcing the public information event. “Mississauga residents and visitors are encouraged to enjoy and live in harmony with wildlife by not interfering with their natural instincts and behaviours.”

Back in December, Animal Services staff reached out to residents yet again with a reminder to not make food available to coyotes, or any other critters for that matter.

“Coyotes are a vital part of our urban ecosystem, helping to control populations of rodents and other wildlife,” officials said at the time. “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 also warned residents at the time that even a seemingly harmless act such as feeding the birds can lead to big problems.

Wildlife experts at the city said in 2023 that the number of coyote/human interactions the past two years or so is declining, according to the numbers.

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

Residents who plan on participating in the Feb. 15 information session are encouraged to share their questions in advance by emailing [email protected].

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

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