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Coyote's death the end result of being illegally fed by humans

One of the six people in Prince George bitten by wayward animal admitted giving it food to try to convince it to leave
A coyote suspected of biting six people in Prince George was shot and killed Sept. 30 by a BC Conservation officer.

A coyote suspected of biting at least six people was trapped and euthanized near the Prince George courthouse.

That marked the end of two-month hunt for the animal, which had been fed by humans and had lost its instinctive fear of people.

“We got the coyote on September 30 attempting to approach somebody else,” said conservation officer Eamon McArthur. “An officer was able to attract it with a wrapper that it ran straight to. We were able to  confirm it was extremely habituated and we were able to shoot it right there.”

The animal carcass was sent for testing to confirm whether or not it had contracted rabies. McArthur said Northern Health wanted that information to rule out the possibility of the bite victims developing the infectious disease.

McArthur can’t stress enough how wrong it is to feed wild animals, which he said is illegal and dangerous.

“You shouldn’t be feeding any wildlife, no matter how cute you think it is,” said McArthur. “We got that from some people, ‘Oh it was the most beautiful coyote we’ve ever seen.’ Well now, by your own hand, you’ve assisted in this coyote’s death.”

One of the bite victims interviewed said he tossed it some food to get the coyote to keep away, which McArthur said has the opposite effect. Once fed, they approach people looking for more food handouts.

“Anybody that’s even thinking about feeding wildlife should think again,” said McArthur. “If you throw a hot dog bun to a coyote to keep it away from your kids you are possibly sentencing someone else’s kids to an injury or something worse.”

Since Aug. 1, the BC Conservation Service Prince George office has fielded close to 5,000 wildlife complaints, mostly about bears. It’s uncommon for people to spot coyotes in the city.

Because of the sheer volume of bear calls, McArthur says they do not have time to make follow-up calls, with just four officers in Prince George and one in Mackenzie serve a vast area that extends north to Kwadacha, east to McBride, west to Bednesti Lake and south to Cinema.

“This year it’s broken the service, we’re shocked,” said McArthur.