It’s a familiar sight to Flin Flonners – a flash of grey fur darts across the road. It’s a coyote in town and it’s looking for food.
Tad Collier, animal control officer for the City of Flin Flon and the Town of Creighton, said he’s seen them as he drives to work.
“I don't think people are feeding them - I sure hope not - but I'm seeing more and more of them,” he said.
Collier said to make a report to provincial natural resources if there is a sighting.
A Manitoba government handout on how to avoid attracting coyotes emphasizes not leaving any potential food sources in your yard.
“Making food available to coyotes, either directly or indirectly (through feeding their prey such as birds and rabbits), may attract coyotes and other predators to an area,” it reads. Coyotes that have been fed by people will become increasingly comfortable in approaching people and increasingly aggressive around people.”
Collier said it’s up to every pet owner to help prevent encounters.
“People have to take responsibility for their pets,” he said.
“We're aware of the coyotes. Take responsibility for your pets, then everybody’s safe.”
Collier said that the coyote population is around the same as past years, but they seem to be more skittish than years past.
“We've had years where they've seemed to be a lot tamer,” he said.
“They’d walk right past us walking into work.”
Collier said while he’s guessing nobody is feeding coyotes on purpose, he is worried people are feeding foxes.
“A lot of people are feeding them and that's my biggest concern,” he said.
“If you feed an animal, a wild animal, it's gonna come back and they'll attack whatever's in their way. That's the problem. I think people feed foxes more than coyotes, but a lot of people are feeding the foxes and it's definitely got to stop. That's my opinion.”
The Manitoba Wildlife Federation gives this plan if you encounter a coyote:
“Never approach or crowd a coyote. Give it an escape route. Stop, remain calm and assess your situation. If the coyote seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it is not looking in your direction. If the coyote is aware of you, let it know you are human. Shout or wave your arms above your head to make yourself appear more threatening. Throw stones or other objects at it. If the coyote continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity. Do not turn away or run. This may encourage the coyote to chase you. If the coyote attacks - fight back.”