The coyote spotted outside a public school in Riverdale Friday morning, just as children were arriving for class, has been captured and is now in the care of the Toronto Wildlife Centre.
Christine Leslie, a volunteer at Withrow Avenue Public School, says she saw children “actually chasing the coyote” and immediately alerted school authorities and ushered the children indoors early.
“My other daycare teacher was out and I asked ‘just keep an eye out on the kids’… I went to the office and let them know, so immediately they rang the school bell. I took a ringing bell, went out and we got all the children in,” Leslie says.
One parent said the animal looked “sick and old,” hiding between a fence and a utility shed on the playground.
It is currently undergoing tests to determine if it has mange, a potentially contagious skin disease caused by parasites. Experts warn we can expect more coyote sightings this time of year.
“A lot of the juvenile coyotes that were born earlier are now striking out on their own so they might not be as savvy as the adults when it comes to choosing places to go and it sounds like this guy just got trapped in a place he couldn’t get out of,” says Aaron Archer, a rehabilitation manager with the Toronto Wildlife Centre.
Coyote sightings are not uncommon in this area. In February 2013, Toronto police shot and killed a coyote in nearby Cabbagetown as it ran through a residential street.
Police said the animal was acting aggressively while lurking near homes near Parliament St. and Wellesley St.