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Coyotes sighted on St. John's trails

The entrance to the Three Pond Barrens hiking trail at the top of Nagle’s Hill on Thursday afternoon.
The entrance to the Three Pond Barrens hiking trail at the top of Nagle’s Hill on Thursday afternoon. - Joe Gibbons

People walking the trail at Three Pond Barrens on recent evenings have spotted and heard coyotes on and around the trail.

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources and the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency say they usually get calls about coyotes near Three Pond Barrens, but have yet to receive any this year.

A recent post in the Three Pond Barrens Facebook group describes seeing a coyote near the middle pond one night and hearing four or five coyotes calling to each other. The post referenced another walker who mentioned a pack of coyotes in the area. Several members of the group commented on the post, citing encounters with coyotes at Three Pond Barrens this year and previously.

“We are aware there are coyotes all through the park,” says Darren Moore, manager of park operations at Pippy Park.

Moore says they have information about best practices from the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency posted around the park to remind people how to safely interact with coyotes.

Moore says he is not aware of any negative interactions between people or dogs and coyotes, nor is he concerned about any future encounters.

Dogs are expected to be leashed in Pippy Park, and Moore said owners who choose not to do so are taking their own risk.

“The main thing is for people just to give them their space,” he says.

The Forestry and Agrifoods Agency advises against leaving edible garbage and pet food outside, and limiting use of birdseed, walking pets on a leash and keeping pets indoors or under supervision, and refraining from feeding coyotes if there is one near your home.

In the event a coyote approaches you, they recommend remaining calm, maintaining your distance to provide it with an escape route, and moving away if it is not looking in your direction.

If the coyote is aware of you, they suggest responding aggressively by shouting and waving your arms, blowing a whistle, and throwing rocks and other objects. If the animal continues to approach, back away slowly toward buildings or human activity, and fight back if it attacks.

Coyote encounters and sightings can be reported to the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency at 709-729-4180 or Pippy Park at 709-737-3655.

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