Food left outside attracts unwanted wildlife

In light of recent coyote sightings in Markham, residents are reminded not to feed or approach coyotes.

One person may use food to entice a coyote closer for a photo, or feel sorry for a coyote and feed it, but it is the community as a whole that has to deal with the consequences of a coyote approaching them hoping for more food.

Feeding coyotes hinders their natural food instincts and makes them rely on humans for food, meaning they are more likely to approach people.

Like most wild animals, coyotes tend to be afraid of anything larger than them. This means humans are generally safe.

“We share Markham with many different types of urban wildlife, and some of them lose their fear of humans when we are careless with our food or waste, or when we are too eager to get a good photo,” said Christy Lehman, Supervisor of Animal Care at the City of Markham. “The animals are all looking for food, a home, hiding spaces, and a mate. So it is up to us to maintain clean and secure properties so the animals are not encouraged to stay near residential areas. This keeps them wild and keeps us all (including wildlife) safe.”

As we enter fall, residents are reminded not to feed any wildlife — whether intentionally or accidentally. Do not leave food outside. Clean up fruit that may have fallen from yard trees, clean up under bird feeders, store organic waste securely and only put it out on the day the city is scheduled to collect it.

Coyotes, raccoons, rats, skunks and squirrels are all attracted to food waste or the small animals that are attracted by scraps.

Remember to keep a close eye on pets and young children when they are outdoors and keep dogs leashed. For more information, visit and click on the accordion “Foxes and coyotes.”

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