- Living with urban wildlife
- What to do if you encounter an aggressive fox, coyote or wolf
Living with urban wildlife
We can find many species of wildlife in urban environments. This habitat attracts animals who adapt easily to new environments and aren't picky eaters, or who are having a hard time finding their usual prey. In the Yukon, this includes coyotes, foxes and wolves.
These animals are important for the proper function of urban ecosystems because they help regulate populations of many other species such as squirrels, mice, voles, beavers and hares.
Serious conflicts between people and foxes, coyotes or wolves are rare. Left to their natural ways, these animals pose little risk to people.
By following some simple guidelines, you can help minimize conflicts between people and urban wildlife, and help keep these animals wild and alive.
Don't feed wildlife
- Feeding wild animals might seem like an act of kindness. It's not.
- Feeding wildlife is illegal and usually ends in a death sentence for the animal.
- When foxes, coyotes and wolves become habituated to unnatural food sources they can lose their fear of humans. A wild animal that has become conditioned this way can be a danger to itself and to the general public.
- In some cases, wild animals that frequent residential areas can be live-trapped and relocated. But if the animal has become a nuisance to the extent that it kills domestic animals or threatens people, it must be destroyed.
Keep urban wildlife wild and alive
Garbage and compost
- Don’t attract wildlife with carelessly stored garbage and compost. Use animal-proof containers with secure lids and put them in an area inaccessible to wildlife.
- Put your garbage out the morning of collection day, not the night before.
- Keep meat and dairy products out of backyard compost systems, and ensure your compost is completely enclosed with a secure lid.
Pets and pet food
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Store pet food indoors or lock it up outdoors.
- Keep your pets indoors or safely tied in a well-lit and fenced yard, or use a properly built dog run.
- Regularly pick up and properly dispose of pet waste. Dog urine may also attract wild canines.
- Prevent any interaction between your pets and wildlife. Walk dogs on a leash all the time.
- Keep a clean and tidy backyard. Clearing brush and dense leaves helps eliminate potential prey and reduces visual cover for coyotes.
- Position bird feeders so foxes and coyotes can't get the seeds or the birds and rodents that visit the feeders.
- Don’t feed or leave food out for foxes, coyotes or wolves.
- Do not touch the fecal waste of foxes, coyotes or wolves.
- Teach your children how to behave around wild animals. If you or your child sees a wild animal that is threatening, be big, be loud and never run.
- Talk to your neighbours. Educate them on the risks to the community and to wildlife associated with feeding foxes, coyotes, wolves and any wild animals.
For more information, see Keep urban wildlife wild and alive.
For tips on preventing conflict with foxes, see Living with foxes.
Report aggressive urban wildlife
- If you see a fox, coyote or wolf acting aggressively, call the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.
- If you suspect someone is feeding wildlife, also call the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.
- If you are having conflicts with an animal on or off your property, please contact your local conservation officer.
We can all do our part to help keep the wild in wildlife.
What to do if you encounter an aggressive fox, coyote or wolf
- Be big, be loud and don’t run.
- Respond to an animal’s presence aggressively by making yourself appear large; wave your arms overhead, or thrust long objects like a walking stick toward the animal.
- Don’t approach a wolf.
- Throw rocks, sticks or other nearby objects.
- Make loud noises. If you’re at home, bang pots and pans together. If you’re out walking, carry a whistle and blow it to startle the animal.
- Shout in a deep voice while maintaining eye contact.
- If the animal continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity.
Don’t turn away or run. This may encourage the animal to chase after you.
If you see a fox, coyote or wolf acting aggressively, report it the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.