Nov. 4, 2009 – this story has been floating around in the news below the surface so thought I would go to the source and provide the facts as reported by The Canadian Press HALIFAX, N.S. The entire article is copied here. See if there are any patterns to coyote reports in Southern Nevada or along the River Mountains Loop Trail. This attack is rare and apparently the only known death by coyotes. I have highlight key words or phases that we trail users should take note of and learn.
By Alison Auld (CP) – Oct 28, 2009 HALIFAX, N.S. — A young Canadian folk singer who had just set off on a solo tour to boost a promising musical career died Wednesday after being mauled by two coyotes in what is believed to be one of the country’s first fatal attacks by the animals. Taylor Mitchell was hiking alone in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on Tuesday afternoon when a pair of coyotes attacked her, leaving her critically injured with bite wounds covering most of her body.The 19-year-old singer’s screams for help were heard by at least two other hikers, who rushed to the Skyline Trail and called 911 at around 3 p.m. as the animals continued their brutal attack on the young Toronto woman.
Mitchell, who was on a three-week tour of the region to promote her debut CD, was to play in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday night when she decided to go for a hike in the scenic park. “She loved going into the woods and hiking,” Lisa Weitz, her manager in Toronto, said through tears. “She was absolutely pumped about her first tour on the East Coast and to take her songwriting craft to new audiences…”She just had a wonderful joy of life and sharing music.”
Mitchell, who had about a dozen concert dates in the Maritimes, was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to Halifax. She died at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said. Paul Maynard of Emergency Health Services said she was already in critical condition when paramedics arrived on the scene and was bleeding heavily from multiple bite wounds. “She was losing a considerable amount of blood from the wounds,” he said. “This was really out of the ordinary – the first I’ve heard of something like this.” RCMP Sgt. Brigdit Leger said officers shot one of the two animals, apparently wounding it, but both managed to get away. An official with Parks Canada said they barricaded the entrance to the trail where Mitchell was attacked and were trying to find the animals to determine what prompted such an unusual attack. Helene Robichaud, the park’s superintendent, said there have been a handful of reports of aggressive coyotes over the last 15 years, but they have not seen any attacks on people. “There’s been some reports of aggressive animals, so it’s not unknown,” she said. “But we certainly never have had anything so dramatic and tragic.” Officials shot a coyote late Tuesday, but Robichaud doubted that it was one of the two involved in the attack.
The provincial Natural Resources Department said there is no other record of a fatal coyote attack on a human in Nova Scotia since the animals were first discovered in the province in the ’70s. In 2003, a teenage girl was bitten on the arm by a coyote while walking on the same trail as Mitchell, said Germaine LeMoine of Parks Canada. The girl’s parents managed to scare the animal away. Biologists said it’s unlikely the coyotes involved had contracted rabies or were protecting young animals. Bob Bancroft, a Nova Scotia wildlife biologist, said coyotes shy away from humans. But not all animals – particularly young, inexperienced coyotes in parks – view humans as predators. “This is probably just a couple of coyotes that saw something vulnerable and went for it,” he said. “It’s horrible. It’s not something you would expect at all. “Coyotes in the region are larger and behave somewhat differently than their counterparts in Western Canada, he said. Large males in Nova Scotia can weigh up to 60 pounds. Simon Gadbois, a professor at Dalhousie University who studies animal behaviour, said hikers should always be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Should a hiker unintentionally surprise a coyote or other animal, Gadbois has simple, potentially life-saving advice: Never act like prey.”The worst thing you can do is start running away,” he said. “Wave your arms, shout, just show that you mean business basically and most animals will think twice.
“Ethel Merry, who manages a motel 10 kilometres from the park in Cheticamp, said people in the area have been seeing more coyotes in the last three years and are calling for controls on their numbers. Merry said she and her family have seen packs of up to seven coyotes wandering around people’s yards and attacking pets. “I’m not surprised at all that this happened,” she said. “The coyotes are all around us. … I am so afraid to walk my road.
“Mitchell, who graduated from the Etobicoke School of the Arts, had recently been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award and was being roundly praised for her songwriting talent. Mitchell’s MySpace site shows the singer standing in the woods with her guitar and a suitcase at her side, along with the cover photo of her album, “For Your Consideration.” Weitz said the singer had just gotten her licence and a new car, which she loaded with her CDs before setting off alone on the tour. “She was a beautiful, dynamic, young, talented woman and we’re all so saddened and shocked,” Weitz said. “She was such a young and old soul at the same time. She just knew how to beautifully craft a song.” Singer Suzie Vinnick met the performer about three years ago and acted as a mentor, teaching her guitar as Mitchell played bars in Ontario and started to garner attention. “She was really keen and hungry in a really positive way,” she said in an interview. “She was a great lyricist and held a lot of promise. I mean, she was at it for two years and already managed to get a Canadian Folk Music nomination.”
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
NOTE: SEE OTHER COYOTE RELATED STORIES AND PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG.