Coyote sighting on the grounds of a Winnipeg school has parents concerned

Coyote sightings in suburban areas of Winnipeg have residents concerned, especially as one of them made its way onto a school ground in the city.

On Friday at 11 a.m. a coyote was spotted on the grounds of Emerson School and approached a student.

The River East Transcona School Division said students remained indoors for the rest of the day and they’re taking extra precautionary measures.

“I had come home from work and my son, we are having supper and he says to me, ‘Mommy there was a coyote on the school grounds at recess,’” said Margarita Tuokko, a concerned parent.

There was a letter sent out to parents to notify them of the incident.

Letter sent to parents regarding coyote on school grounds of Emerson School.

“You look at the letter, you know, and it indicated here that the coyote was spotted and approached a student.”

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Global News reached out to the school division for a comment but has yet to hear back.

There is a sign at Bunns Creek, near Emerson School, that outlines tips for coexisting with coyotes such as never feeding coyotes, increasing pet safety and preventing encounters.

However, for Tuokko this is not the first experience her family has had with the animal and she fears the tips aren’t enough.

“When I’ve taken my dogs out for walks we’ve already been followed once by two coyotes at the end of November. It is quite concerning.”

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The mother of two is hoping the city or the province will take some action and that it doesn’t take a serious incident to happen for something to be done.

If you do come across a coyote, the province recommended remaining calm, picking up small children and pets, walking away slowly, and being loud.

The province said coyotes are timid and try to avoid encounters with people but when food is made available to them — garbage or pet food — they can become more bold and aggressive toward people.

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The province said they receive on average 70 reports of coyote-human interactions in Winnipeg each year.

“The majority of these reports are coyote sightings, rather than conflicts,” said a provincial spokesperson.

“All reported conflicts in the city involve the presence of a pet, and there are generally two to three reports of coyote attacks on a person’s pet each year.”

The province encourages people to report any incident where a coyote approaches a person by calling 204-945-5221.

— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche

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More coyote sightings in Winnipeg

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