By the time two emaciated coyote pups were captured in a South Surrey neighbourhood, they were beyond recovery.
That’s according to conservation officer Dave Cox, who told Peace Arch News Tuesday that both pups were euthanized after an assessment by the Critter Care wildlife rescue agency showed they were too ill to recover.
Cox was not optimistic about a third coyote pup, equally thin, that’s managed to evade capture.
“The third pup kind of vanished,” Cox said.
“It’s probably not going to survive in that condition.”
PAN reported Tuesday that when residents spotted the underweight coyotes in the area of 24 Avenue and 141 Street, Critter Care volunteers and conservation officers spent about a week trying to capture them using humane traps and sedative-laced food.
The coyotes evaded the traps and the food only made them “woozy” Cox said.
“They were still pretty fast.”
Finally, one wandered into a culvert that searchers were able to block off and a second was cornered inside a barn.
Cox said both pups had a “pretty severe” case of mange that had caused extensive fur loss.
He said it appears the three pups may not have been orphans as earlier believed, but were instead victims of parental neglect.
The adult female they were seen with on a few occasions did not seem especially interested in them, observers reported to Cox.
The pups were not moving in a group the way they would if they had an adult looking after them, Cox said.
It was also evident passersby had been trying to help by feeding the pups, he added.
“They would approach people, looking for handouts.”
The provincial Wildlife Act forbids feeding coyotes.
Residents who spoke to a reporter at the beginning of the week said the animals were observed along 24 Avenue near 141 Street for more than two weeks, occasionally bringing traffic to a stop when they crossed the road.
Lisa Castle, who first noticed the young coyotes July 12, said they looked “really, really sick… very, very skinny.”
The sightings were reported in an area of big houses on large lots with many trees.
Last week, resident Lynn Brandt saw two coyotes sitting on a sidewalk together and managed to get pictures of one.
“It was just kind of walking around,” she said, adding that both were severely underweight.
“It’s really sad.”
An online BC Ministry of Environment posting notes that coyotes are usually not a threat to people, especially adults.
“Problems between children and coyotes are usually the result of the coyote becoming conditioned/comfortable with people as a result of direct or indirect feeding,” the website says, indicating residents often will either give the animals treats or fail to properly secure their garbage and compost.
If a coyote is acting aggressively, it should be reported by calling 1-800-663-9453.
Other tips: ensure garbage and compost is inaccessible, that outdoor pet food is securely stored, fruit is picked from trees and off of the ground and any potential habitat for the rodents coyotes feed on, such as neglected yards, garages or sheds, is kept clear.
A sturdy fence that is at least two metres tall and flush with the ground will discourage coyotes from entering yards.