|An aggressive coyote spotted in Wellesley Park was shot dead by Toronto Police on February 12, 2013. (RYAN WOLSTAT/QMI Agency)
TORONTO – Toronto Police shot and killed an aggressive coyote in Cabbagetown on Monday night.
The dead coyote is believed to be the same one spotted by several residents near Wellesley Park on Sunday evening after coming up from the Don Valley.
That sighting prompted police to warn residents to be vigilant with small children and pets.
The coyote ran back into the valley after police came to the scene on Sunday, but when it returned to the park on Monday and again came into close contact with area residents and then acted aggressively, it was shot and killed.
Officers initially tried to send the coyote back into the wild, but it was destroyed "for the safety of the public in a wooded area," said Const. Wendy Drummond.
Toronto Police also shot and killed an aggressive coyote at Cherry Beach last year.
Toronto Wildlife Centre, a registered Toronto charity with a focus on assisting sick or injured wildlife and educating the public about wildlife issues, said killing the coyote was not necessary.
"Coyotes are not dangerous animals, and certainly the police shooting them out in the community would send a message that that's a dangerous animal," said Nathalie Karvonen, TWC's executive director.
According to Karvonen, coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare and "there were many residents in this area who would see the coyote regularly and have absolutely no concerns about the coyote."
Educating the public to be vigilant and smart about wild animals, instead of eliminating the coyote would have been preferable, she said.