Coyote that 'likely' attacked cyclist in Cape Breton Highlands National Park killed

INGONISH, N.S. — Parks Canada says police have killed a coyote that was likely the animal that bit a cyclist on the Cabot Trail last week.

Erich Muntz, a resource conservation manager with the agency, said in an interview that RCMP officers today noticed a coyote behaving in an "atypical way" in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, near the scene of last Wednesday's attack.

He said the Mounties shot the animal at the scene, and its body has been sent for a necropsy to be conducted by a wildlife pathologist.

Muntz says the conservation officers will continue to trap and release coyotes in areas where they have been observed chasing motorcycles and cyclists and approaching people.

He said it's unfortunate that a wild animal had to be killed to preserve public safety and added that in many instances the reason for the behaviour is that people have been feeding the coyotes — causing the animals to lose their fear of humans.

The conservation manager said that while he can't be certain the animal killed was the one that bit the cyclist, it is "highly likely" based on its size and the unusual behaviour observed by the RCMP.

On Friday, another coyote that was chasing a cyclist on the Cabot Trail was shot by Parks Canada.

In a statement, the parks service advised the public to exercise caution and avoid walking or cycling in the area. It has also put up signs warning of coyote attacks in areas where the animals have been spotted following cyclists.

In October 2009, a coyote fatally attacked 19-year-old Toronto musician Taylor Mitchell as she hiked the park's Skyline Trail, the second fatal coyote attack recorded in North America.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press