Earlier this week, Montreal was having a massive crisis with the amount of coyotes that had been entering parks around the city and attacking children. At least three children under the age of five were bitten, and although none of the kids were seriously injured it was a pretty big wake up call for the city.
The City of Montreal announced that the activity of coyotes within the city would be closely monitored, and that for the time being people should stay away from parks and fields around sunset. The general idea is that if you see one of the critters, the best thing to do is either walk away or scare them off, right?
Well, maybe it's not that obvious. It turns out that the same people pushing for coyotes to be eliminated from the area are also the reason why coyotes keep coming back. The first reaction of anyone who sees one of the wild animals is to snap a picture on their phone, and sure, they do look pretty cool sometimes, but they've literally been biting children in the city! Now is not the time for a few selfies with a "cute and fuzzy" wild animal!
The selfie-taking with the animals has become so bad that the actual Mayor of Ahuntsic-Cartierville is speaking up to let people know it's time to stop. She warns that interacting with the coyotes will just cause more to come to the area, and the best thing you can do if you see one is to yell rather than snap a picture for your Instagram. Seriously, if the Mayor has to step in the tell people to stop, you should probably listen.
It doesn't stop there, probably the biggest reason why coyotes keep coming back to the downtown area is because people keep giving them food. It's common for Montrealers to throw food at the animals when they see them, and to even try and offer them a drink of water from their water bottle. For coyotes, these actions are just making a trip to the city even more worth it.
Regardless of whether or not we interact with coyotes, it doesn't look like the city will be getting rid of them anytime soon. According to Mayor Valérie Plante, it's really just impossible to eradicate all of the coyotes from Montreal, since they've been here for decades. The city is working to catch the one or two coyotes that keep attacking kids, so at the very least the main problem will have gone away for now.
The best thing you can do to avoid running into one of the wild critters is pay attention to your surroundings after sunset, and stop trying to get an up close and personal photo with them. Just walk away, people!