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May. 28, 2020 | Thursday
Local News
Ministry investigating dumping of coyote carcasses
One coyote carcass can be spotted near Brown's Point plaque along Niagara River Parkway. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Investigators have not determined whether an offence was committed after coyote carcasses were found in a ravine along the Niagara Parkway.

About 10 coyotes were spotted last week by a fisherman who then contacted authorities. 

Some of the dead coyotes have actually been there since March 19, 2019, said Niagara Parks Police chief Paul Forcier. His officers visited the scene several times last year, Forcier said, explaining sometimes the same incident can be reported multiple times.

The coyotes were found in three spots, “likely dumped from the same general area at street level,” Forcier said in an email response to The Lake Report.

“Some were dumped as far as 60 feet down the embankment.”

The bodies were left to naturally decompose as it wasn’t safe to send officers into the gorge to retrieve the bodies, said Forcier.

Jolanta Kowalski, a senior media relations officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, said as the carcasses were thrown down a steep embankment adjacent to the Niagara River, it was initially hard for conservation officers to access the site.

They were able to reach the location by boat on the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 11.

“Unfortunately, due to the length of time the carcasses had been exposed to the elements it was difficult to determine if an offence had been committed,” Kowalski said in an email.

The ministry has jurisdiction on the matter involving coyotes but not all coyote-related incidents are reported to the ministry as it depends on the circumstances, Forcier said. If coyotes are struck by a vehicle, Niagara Parks wouldn’t contact the ministry in that case, for example.

“We would act on complaints, for instance, sightings near the recreation trail which we have not had for quite a very long time,” he said.

The ministry investigates any suspected poaching incidents, said Kowalski. In most cases, conservation officers will visit the scene where coyotes were discovered and try to determine if there has been any non-compliance with regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Legally, hunters can hunt coyotes in this area under a valid small game licence.

“Dumping of carcasses on private land without permission is illegal,” said Kowalski. “Hunters are encouraged to dispose of carcasses – and pelts that have no commercial value – safely and ethically. Some municipal dumps may accept carcasses but you are encouraged to check before you go.”

Anyone with information on the incident can contact https://crimestoppersniagara.com/

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