Aggressive Coyotes Threaten Cyclists in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

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Parks Canada reported that a recent incident necessitated the termination of a coyote that had been boldly pursuing a cyclist along Cape Breton’s picturesque Cabot Trail. Concurrently, conservation officers are engaged in tracking a second coyote, involved in a separate event, which had assaulted a different cyclist, biting the individual’s arm.

According to Erich Muntz, managing the resources conservation portfolio at Parks Canada, the coyote’s aggressive chase in the most recent episode was alarming enough to justify exterminating the animal. This situation unfolded on Friday atop MacKenzie Mountain, situated in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Here, the coyote initiated a pursuit of motorcyclists before targeting a cyclist navigating the challenging, steep road roughly 200 kilometres west of Sydney, N.S.

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Separately, despite their relentless efforts until Saturday, the conservation team was unable to locate the mature coyote. This animal had carried out an attack which led to a cyclist being bitten at Green Cove, N.S., approximately 50 kilometres east of MacKenzie Mountain.

Interestingly, Muntz pointed out that the coyote euthanised on Friday was not a newfound menace. Officers had been cognizant of its audacious behaviour towards human beings for several weeks leading to the event. This attitude included its past pursuit of motorbike riders.

In Muntz’s opinion, coyotes become particularly perilous when they start hounding cyclists. This threat is amplified on steep climbs such as MacKenzie Mountain, where cyclists’ reduced speed makes them susceptible prey. Muntz unveiled multiple hypotheses for the animals’ cycling pursuits, including potential annoyance linked to wheel sounds and movements.

Offering a no less intriguing possibility, Muntz enclosed that human interventions such as feeding could embolden these animals. Absence of this reward for their boldness could stir aggression in coyotes. Additionally, the coyotes in the park might be reacting to a decreased availability of their natural prey including the snowshoe hare, whitetail deer and moose.

The narrative describes the initial attack when a boisterous coyote darted across the highway, haunted a cyclist, and after an unsuccessful attempt, left a minor wound at her dismount. In response, patrols were carried out in the Green Cove vicinity where the assault happened.

Visitors, Michel Soucy and his wife recalled their quiet scenic drive transforming into a tense occasion as they saw an animal relentlessly chasing two cyclists. Startled by this, they sounded their vehicle’s horn to divert the coyote, which had to be reported multiple times to park officials.

It must be noted that coyote encounters, including a lethal one in 2009 that culminated in the death of a young woman, are not an irregular episode in the national park.

Therefore, to mitigate these risks, Parks Canada advises park goers against incentivising coyotes with food and other temptations. If a coyote threatens, people should maintain eye contact to deter it, appearing larger by using body language. As a last resort, sturdy objects can be used to scare off the creatures.