Around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nora Johnston was walking her dog when she saw a coyote ahead of her at an intersection in Edmonton. Attempting to avoid the animal, Johnston went the opposite direction.
“I had been about 400 metres down the road from where I saw the coyote and I heard a little click on the sidewalk and turned and the coyote was about five feet behind us, at a run,” Johnston told CBC.
Turning around, she yelled at the animal, who stopped but didn’t run away. “It didn’t back off, so I yelled again and it kind of lunged again,” she said.
It was only after the third time that she yelled at the animal that he ran away.
On Thursday, she encountered what she thought was the same coyote on her walk. As in the previous sighting, the coyote ran after her and only disappeared after several attempts to spook the animal.
According to the City of Edmonton‘s recommendations for coyote encounters, Johnston did the right thing. Called “aversion therapy,” this approach is meant to make a human encounter unappealing, hopefully making the coyote feel unwelcome and less likely to return. They also recommend appearing large by putting your arms above your head, throwing rocks or sticks at the animal, shouting in a deep voice while maintaining eye contact, and to avoid turning your back to run away.
Due to the growth of the city’s development, urban sites are expanding into the coyote’s habitat. As a result, they are becoming more habituated to easily accessible food sources such as garbage, pet food, and fruit. The City of Edmonton recommends keeping pets on a leash, securing garbage cans, and leaving pet food indoors.