A teenaged girl was attacked by a coyote while sleeping at a campground in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park early Monday, Parks Canada says.
Cape Breton RCMP said a 911 call was received around 4:30 a.m. and was attended to by Parks Canada.
The girl suffered two bite wounds to her scalp. She was treated at a nearby hospital and released later in the morning.
“It’s difficult for us to say exactly what happened. It doesn’t appear that the bite was provoked by anything the person did,” said Derek Quann, resource conservation manager with Parks Canada. “It’s important to mention that she was in a sleeping bag outside of her tent, close to the tent, when this occurred.”
Parks Canada considers this a “serious incident,” Quann said.
The agency is working to increase awareness among visitors about coyote behaviour and how to stay safe in the event of an attack. Efforts are also being made to attract the animals into an area where they can be safely and humanely trapped, Quann said.
The Department of Natural Resources said it has received a record number of calls from the public about coyotes since last fall, when Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old folk singer from Toronto, died after being attacked in the national park by two of the animals.
Mitchell’s death triggered warnings about coyote safety in the park. Parks Canada organized open houses to inform hikers about coyote behaviour to try to prevent future attacks.
This spring, the province announced that it would keep 15 trappers on call to deal with complaints about aggressive animals. Coyotes found near communities would be captured and killed, the province said.
The government also announced in May it would start paying trappers $20 per coyote pelt when the trapping season begins on Oct. 15.
There are an estimated 8,000 coyotes in Nova Scotia. Provincial officials say as many as 4,000 could be killed by next spring.