Toronto Animal Services says the coyotes that tried to attack a person in Scarborough have long existed in the area without incident, but intentional feeding may have changed their behaviour.
Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday morning, Jasmine Herzog-Evans, manager of the enforcement & mobile response Unit at Toronto Animal Services, said it is still unclear what happened, but the city had received reports that the coyotes in the community were being fed.
"Feeding tends to create negative behaviours with coyotes in our community," she said.
Toronto police warned residents in Scarborough's Guildwood neighbourhood on Monday of two "aggressive" coyotes that attempted to attack a person. No injuries were reported.
"For years, the coyotes have been here…without any incident. The main thing to do is to leave wildlife alone," Herzog-Evans said.
She added that when wild animals are fed, it alters their natural instincts to be afraid of people and can increase their presence.
"Sometimes we have what could be described as demand behaviour happening, and people may perceive it as an attack. Again, this is because of that feeding, and it's changing their behaviour, which is detrimental," Herzog-Evans said.
She noted that the city continues to investigate what caused the coyotes to attack, and if it happens again, officials will work with Coyote Watch Canada and the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources to devise a plan to break the behaviour of being accustomed to people as a source of food.
"The important thing is letting animals use their own natural instincts. They've been here for hundreds of years. They don't need us to feed them," Herzog-Evans said.
"They will continue to thrive all on their own. So it's really important that we leave them alone."