Living in the rural areas around Ottawa has many benefits over living in a busy urban centre, but one of the issues is the wildlife we share the land with. Building in these areas also poses a risk to wildlife. The City’s Wildlife Strategy was created to deal with the human-wildlife conflicts in rural areas, including information and recommendations on managing human-coyote interactions.
The Wildlife Strategy was approved in late 2013 and hasn’t been reviewed or updated since. While they have implemented many of the recommended actions, such as the Wildlife Speaker Series and the updated Protocol for Wildlife Protection during Construction, there are still actions that need to be taken.
Human-coyote interactions in urban and suburban settings have continued; it is reported that in 2021 there were 476 coyote sightings reported to the City of Ottawa, which is more than what the city saw in 2013. Coexisting with coyotes is essential since they are one of the main predators in the area that help maintain the natural balance by controlling the population of some problematic animals, i.e. rabbits and rats.
To address the increase of sightings in early October of 2022, the Council approved a motion (2022-83-6) to review options to better manage human-coyote interactions with the help of experts and other municipalities. They are to report back this year with their choices, recommendations, and resource suggestions for building a proactive strategy. The review would also determine whether updates or changes to the Wildlife Strategy are needed. The Environment and Climate Change Committee are responsible for providing guidance and direction on coexistence with urban wildlife; therefore, the Committee will review all future updates and recommendations.
Planned Items for Wildlife Strategy Review:
- launch of Engage Ottawa page
- launch of a survey to obtain feedback on current strategy and suggested updates
- Public Engagement Session
- Report to Committee and Council
If you see coyotes in your neighbourhood, you can report it to Service Ottawa online at ottawa.ca, email email@example.com, or call 3-1-1. If a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to the public, call 9-1-1 immediately. It is important to remember that coyotes are wild animals and do not need to be fed.