Authorities have closed the Trout River trail until it is deemed safe
Giggles. Whistles. Baby talk. You wouldn't expect to hear such sounds from people being followed by a wild coyote, but the two women who filmed their coyote close encounter say they never felt threatened. In fact, they believe the coyote acted as if it wanted to play.
Once posted, their video circulated on social media and the trail in western Prince Edward Island, (P.E.I.) where the footage was taken, was closed soon after for safety reasons.
According to CBC, Kim DesRoches and Cindy Perry were walking on the Trout River trail last week when a coyote approached.
"He just walked along with us for a while and then after a while he kind of started to play a bit, he got more comfortable with us, and then we kind of started taking some videos and pictures," DesRoches said.
"The video I shared was probably a little bit further along in the walk, but he was definitely friendly."
The women said they never felt threatened by the coyote, but they picked up a couple sticks to carry with them just in case.
"He was probably 30 feet [away], but any time we would clap our hands or stomp our feet, he would run away," DesRoches said.
The coyote followed them for more than 30 minutes.
"That type of interaction is unusual," said Garry Gregory, a biologist with the P.E.I. fish and wildlife division.
"It really looked as if the coyote was just being playful and curious, and kind of responding to the enticing cues that the trail users were providing to it."
He said coyotes are more visible on P.E.I. this time of year because it's mating season, so it's not unusual for people to encounter them on trails.
"Typically, when people encounter coyotes on trails, we like to encourage them to actively haze the coyotes to make sure it's a negative type of interaction with the coyote so the coyote maintains that natural wariness of people," Gregory said.
"Experiences that coyotes have that may contradict that, or actively encourage the coyote to approach people, could possibly inform future behavior of that coyote."
Gregory encourages people to report unusual coyote behavior.
"If there's anything to suggest that it's particularly bold or aggressive behaviors that you're seeing in coyotes or if they're seeing coyotes in and around their homes on a regular basis, a predictable pattern of behavior, that's something that we would like to know for sure."
The Trout Unlimited Prince County Chapter said the trail will reopen when they feel it is safe for visitors.