Coyotes in Stanley Park
By Walter Block
Stanley Park is one of the most beautiful recreational centers in Canada. It is, if I may be permitted to say so, the Jewel in the Crown of Vancouver, British Columbia. I am a race walker and I’ve entered dozens of 5k, 10k, and half marathons there. The outer track is about 6 miles; while walking, running, skating or biking around it, you can view the majestic Grouse Mountain, English Bay, the Vancouver skyline, numerous beaches, the Lion’s Gate Bridge, a statue of the mermaid, the University of British Columbia, North and West Vancouver, and much much more. It is truly a trip worth taking.
But all is not well in what would otherwise clearly be considered this environmental heaven. There are coyotes at large in in Stanley Park, and some of them are not at all that friendly. To wit, several joggers, passersby, tourists- over a dozen- have already been bitten and more of the same would appear to be in the offing.
Say what?! Let me repeat that: in this case, man doesn’t bite coyote, but coyote bites man. This species is not as dangerous as is the wolf, but if you are on the receiving end of their attentions, you’ll soon realize that they are not cuddly dogs either. One woman had her hamstring tendon detached as a result of an attack. No one, yet, has been killed by any of these predators, but if these depredations continue, such a tragedy should not occasion any great surprise. Especially vulnerable would be the elderly and children. Should a baby ever be bitten, its life would be at grave risk. Are we going to wait around for that to occur?
What have the authorities done so far to quell this abomination? (Is that too harsh a word? Not if you are on the receiving end of one of these beasts’ attentions). In late January of this year conservation officers captured and killed two of these vicious animals. But there are an estimated dozen of them living and marauding in Stanley Park, and the authorities have taken no further action to quell this menace.
Please be sitting down when you read this, otherwise you might keel over. How would a private owner of this precious real estate deal with this threat? It doesn’t take an entrepreneurial genius to appreciate that one of the very first steps of a Stanley Park Corporation would be to round up all of these predators, and either place them in a zoo, or release them into the wilds where they could do no harm.
Profit and loss considerations would dictate this. Apart from a few weird masochists, no one likes to be bitten by a wild animal.
Before you scoff at the idea of privatizing this vast area (1,001 acres) realize that private enterprise has successfully owned and operated other large attractions. For example, Disney World is 25,000 acres. If there are any coyotes there, you may be sure they are kept behind bars.
Would the private owner of Stanley Park place high-rise buildings in its midst, thus risking what makes this area so attractive in the first place? Unlikely. Disney World, Six Flags, none of the rest have done any such thing. Further, this could be legally precluded by the transfer agreement.
But, horrors, the SP Corp would charge admission! You think you don’t already pay for the care and mismanagement of this splendid park through taxes? Given the greater efficiency of the private vis a vis the public sector, it would be exceedingly likely that the costs would fall.
I tell you this! I’m not entering any more races in Stanley Park until this threat is ended. I’m pretty fast for an old codger, but I can’t out-run or out-walk a hungry coyote.