A three-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote in White Rock Monday night.
BC Conservation Service officer Sgt. Todd Hunter told Peace Arch News Wednesday that the toddler sustained “superficial” injuries to the back of her leg after she was bitten by a coyote in the Centennial Park parking lot area.
The girl was examined and later released by health care professionals, Hunter said.
The Centennial Park parking lot, located off North Bluff Road (16 Avenue) near Oxford Street (148 Street), is connected to Ruth Johnson Park, which features the newly-constructed Generations Playground. The park is also connected to Duprez Ravine, a forested area that connects North Bluff Road to White Rock beach.
Hunter said conservation officers located and killed the coyote responsible for the attack Monday evening.
“The area is currently safe to enjoy,” Hunter said. “But the conservation service recommends that people have their dogs on a leash, keep children in close accompaniment and to hike in groups.”
Hunter said that coyotes generally shy away from people, and that an attack on a human is “rare.”
“It has happened before in the Metro Vancouver area. Generally, the best thing to do to prevent these type of things is to definitely not feed wildlife,” Hunter said.
Hunter said that the ravine is a suitable habitat for “numerous” coyotes.
“Generally, if there’s one there’s likely more. Are we going to be going and looking for more to remove? No,” Hunter said.
Hunter described coyotes as opportunistic animals. One of the most important things people can do to limit interactions with coyotes is to not feed wildlife and control vermin.
“If you have vermin coming around, you’re going to have all sorts of wildlife coming around. It’s a predator/prey relationship. An inspection of (the ravine area) revealed that there’s likely a number of areas that this would be a perfect habitat for coyotes.
Leanne Hiemstra, who was at Generations Park with her child Wednesday, expressed concern to PAN that there was not enough signage warning of the recent attack posted at the park. PAN located one sign, at the south end of the Peace Arch Curling Centre, warning that a coyote was spotted in the area.
“Keep your kids close,” Hiemstra said.
Jan Vleeming, a grandfather who was at the park Wednesday, expressed the same concern, and noted that development is limiting the animals habitat.
“We’re taking more and more of their space,” he said.
Hunter said that members of the public that witnesses any unusual coyote behaviour are asked to call the BC Conservation Service 24-hour call centre at 1-877-952-7277.