Park board commissioners in Vancouver are preparing to vote on a proposal that could impose stiff fines for feeding any type of wildlife in city parks.
Commissioners are considering amendments that include a fine of $500 for anyone feeding wild animals ranging from pigeons, crows and geese to squirrels, raccoons and coyotes.
If the board adopts the recommendation at its meeting Monday night, a bylaw could be drafted and presented for enactment within weeks.
Attracting or feeding dangerous wildlife, including as coyotes, bears or cougars, is already banned under the Provincial Wildlife Act and a park board bylaw prohibits leaving food or grain anywhere except in a garbage can.
The board is seeking tougher measures in response to numerous coyote attacks in Stanley Park.
Eleven coyotes have been trapped and shot since last year, as food-conditioned coyotes were blamed for nipping or biting park visitors, including several children.
The entire park was closed overnight during a recent cull that captured four coyotes. It reopened Sept. 21, the same day the Conservation Officer Service says it arrested two people and seized their vehicle for allegedly trying to feed a coyote.
The park board proposal says a halt to feeding all wildlife in all its parks is necessary because a single instance of feeding can have a spiralling effect.
“This new bylaw would apply to all wildlife because feeding even small animals increases the amount of prey available for dangerous wildlife, which have greater potential risk to humans. Additionally, feeding wildlife is physically harmful for all animals,” the report says.
A decision on higher fines for repeat offenders could be considered later. The proposal also calls on the board to monitor the need for added enforcement.
—The Canadian Press