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Coyotes becoming less fearful of humans in wake of attack, wildlife expert says

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Multiple warnings have been issued about the dangers of coyotes and potential wild dogs following a weekend attack.

OPP confirmed one person was seriously hurt on the Oneida Nation of the Thames.

The attack occurred on Nicholas Road at approximately 3:45 a.m. Saturday.

While the circumstances leading to the attack remain unclear, a local wildlife expert suggests coyotes in the region may be becoming less fearful of humans as populations grow.

“They get familiar with people, and they’re not as skittish. They don’t run away as easily,” said Brian Salt of Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation near Strathroy.

Salt said that is particularly true at this time of year, as young males search out mates and food.

“Pack mentality is different, and a pack of coyotes can do considerable damage in a short period of time,” he explained.

Brian Salt of Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation is seen on April 15, 2024. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

To prevent encounters, Salt said the first step is to remove all food sources outside of your home.

Wildlife officials and police have recommended steps to take should you ever come across a coyote, including never turning your back to run. Instead, a person should stand tall and try to scare off the animal while backing away slowly.

“Put your arms up in the air, yell, and throw things,” said Salt. “If you’re going to be walking in the woods, take an umbrella with you. Just opening an umbrella quickly that usually acts as a deterrent.”

Still, he reminds everyone that coyotes are “very curious animals, but they’re not usually aggressive.”

The Oneida Nation of the Thames has put out a social media advisory to residents advising them of safety tips.

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