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‘Curious’ lone coyote encounter raises concern in southwest Calgary community

A “bold” lone coyote has been spotted in South Glenmore Park over the last three days.

At 9 p.m. on May 25, Mackenzie Szaroz, 19, was walking her mother’s three-month-old puppy when someone alerted her to a nearby coyote.

Szaroz grew up in a small town so she wasn’t too scared, but she exercised caution and continued in the opposite direction of the wild animal.

A little later, Szaroz looked to her left and saw the coyote in the park.

The coyote was out in the open for most of Szaroz’s walk, though she said he seemed to be “minding his own business” | MACKENZIE SZAROZ

She watched it walk down near the river, waited until it was to her right, and then continued left to go home.

“I couldn’t really end my walk right away because I had no idea what side he was on,” Szaroz said.

“I [was] just trying to walk in the opposite direction.”

Next thing she knew, the coyote crossed about 10 meters in front of her.

Szaroz and her mother’s puppy waited as she watched the coyote casually cross on the sidewalk in front of her, along 90 AVE SE | MACKENZIE SZAROZ

She called her mom, Nicole Lita, to let her know what was happening, and what had extended her walk.

At this point, it was about 9:45 p.m.

“I was ready to hop in the car and go get her,” Lita said.

Her daughter denied the offer, and continued her walk home on high alert.

Szaroz then watched the coyote walk around a fenced in court in the park, and near a playground in the park.

“It was a little nerve wracking, because there was tall grass everywhere,” she said.

“Especially knowing that if there’s one, there’s more”

This behaviour not uncommon, says Calgary Parks’ Lincoln Julie

This is a common thought, said Calgary Parks’ Lincoln Julie.

But what Szaroz and Lita have seen are somewhat common behaviours in coyotes.

“Coyotes are curious,” Julie said.

“Sometimes they’re just following along, you know? [They’re] observing what you’re doing, where you’re going, that type of thing.”

Szaroz later noticed the coyote walking on the sidewalk behind her, and quickly decided to end her walk.

The coyote got distracted by an over-flowing garbage bin, so she crossed the street and finally went home.

“That was the last I saw of him,” she said.

Lita’s three-month-old puppy, Brody, a Catahoula Irish wolfhound cross. Though young, he is already 23 pounds. |NICOLE LITA

Lita took to Facebook with photos her daughter had taken – warning those that walk their digs in the area to keep an eye out.

She hopes people will see it and be more aware of their children and dogs.

Lita continued to see the same coyote when walking her puppy over the next two days.

Julie said this is common behaviour. Lone males are commonly seen this time of year, as females are in the dens tending to their pups.

They’re either hunting or making sure you don’t get too close to the den. If you do, they may follow along or get your attention to try and lead you away.

Being able to see them is a good sign, Julie said.

“If they’re hunting, they don’t want you to notice them,” he said.

“They will not be out in the open trying to get your attention, they’ll be hiding in the grass.”

This coyote is not afraid of being seen, as he observes Lita and her puppy. |NICOLE LITA

If you see something, say something.

Not much research has been done specifically in the South Glenmore Park and Oakridge area, where these sightings have been.

Julie asked that people call 311 to report this kind of activity so a team can look into it. That’s how more information and research can be done into trends and common behaviours of coyotes in the area.

When Lita saw the coyote in the two days after her daughter had seen him, she said he had gotten within five meters of her and her dog.

This video was taken when Lita was walking her dog on May 27 in the same area as her daughter had been 2 days prior. |NICOLE LITA

That’s “a little closer than we would like,” Julie said.

“But like I said, we need to investigate.”

If people are uncomfortable with a coyote’s proximity, there’s a few things they can do.

Banging sticks together, yelling, or making any kind of loud noise, swinging a stick in the coyote’s direction, and making yourself look as large as possible are what Julie suggests for getting it to back off.

“Don’t turn your back on the coyotes,” he said.

He also advised patrons to pick up small dogs and keep others leashed.

If you or someone you know come across this kind of activity in your area, please report it by calling 311.