Montreal residents: Don't take a selfie with a coyote
Thursday, April 12, 2018, 3:43 PM - Wildlife experts are issuing a stern warning to Montreal residents after an increase in coyote sightings.
“Don’t try to take selfies with the coyote,” David Rodrigue, director at Ecomuseum Zoo, told CTV Montreal.
“Just enjoy the fact that it’s there and it’s an animal and you have the opportunity to see him.”
Since June, there have been 379 coyote sightings in Montreal, according to a city spokesperson. In five instances, they showed aggression towards humans. Ten dogs have been injured and one killed.
Experts say the uptick in sightings is unusual, because the solitary animals are usually afraid of humans.
Rodrigue blames humans on the coyote's sudden confidence.
“People like to feed animals. They think they help them. They think it’s cute. It’s not,” he said.
“Those animals become habituated to people and then they come closer and closer. What happens at some point is they want food. They don’t get it, they get mad -- just like a child -- and they nip.”
Offering coyotes food can also make them dependent, and that could force wildlife officials to step in.
“The best way to kill an animal is to start feeding it,” Rodrigue said.
VIDEO: WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE A SELFIE WITH A QUOKKA
INSTAGRAM CRACKS DOWN ON ANIMAL SELFIES
In December, the social media photo-sharing site Instagram took steps to discourage selfies with wild animals by issuing a warning to users who search for popular terms associated with animal selfies.
Whether you're trying to capture a perfect photo or take a selfie, we encourage you to be mindful of the environment around you," Instagram says in an online statement.
"It's easy to get caught up in the moment when you're surrounded by nature's beauty, but risking damage to the environment—whether it's walking on wildflowers, moving a nest or carving initials—is never worth a few likes."
The sentiment is echoed almost unanimously by animal advocates.
"Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival," The National Park Service says on its website.
In U.S. national parks, regulations require guests stay at least 23 m from all wildlife and at least 91 m away from bears and wolves.
"Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury, and even death. The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules," The service says.