Urban wildlife


Managing urban wildlife is a high priority for many municipalities these days - including our own. More wild animals - including coyotes -- are migrating from the outskirts of our community into our residential neighbourhoods, attracted by food people leave out for them.

Not only can feeding wild animals cause nuisance issues - doing so can put the health and safety of residents and their pets at risk.

For this reason, city council has banned the feeding of wildlife in our city. 

  • If you are experiencing problems with people feeding wildlife in your neighbourhood, please call 519-741-2345.
  • If you are concerned about what you think might be sick, injured or orphaned wildlife please consult the Ministry of Natural Resources website or contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Guelph District by calling 519-826-4955 and selecting option 3 or by email
  • If you want to report an animal that is found dead on the road, please call the KW Humane Society at 519-745-5615.
Coyotes - did you know?

Coyotes are very active in the springtime. Choosing a mate, locating a den, hunting and establishing a territory are all reasons why coyotes are on the move, and why sightings of coyotes increase in the spring and fall. Check out these tips for information on what to do if you see a coyote and how to help keep coyotes away from your property:

  • Coyotes prey mainly on small mammals. To keep your dog(s) safe, make sure you keep them on a leash and don't leave them unattended.
  • Keep your dog(s) inside at night. Keep pet food indoors and clean up after your dog as coyotes are attracted to dog feces. 
  • You should never run when you see a coyote (that goes for dogs, too) – it brings out their “chase” instinct. Stand still, wave your arms and slowly back away.
  • Coyotes are extremely curious and intelligent animals – they often watch the things happening around them, just as a tourist in a new city would. Young coyotes are immature and very puppy-like: children, and the toys they play with (like balls) can lead a juvenile coyote into play behaviour. If you are concerned that a coyote is paying too much attention to your small dog or child, pick them up and begin making loud noises and/or throwing objects toward (but not at) the coyote to scare it away.

The City of Kitchener does not offer urban wildlife removal services (e.g. raccoons, skunks, squirrels). For these types of services, please contact a professional. We do encourage you ask about and select companies that will use humane removal techniques.

The effects of feeding wildlife

While most people who leave food outside for animals have good intentions at heart, this simple act can do a lot of damage. Leaving food outdoors can:

  • Cause wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans.
  • Provide an artificial food source, which can cause overpopulation of animals - and lead to starvation and disease.
  • Lead to property damage and unwelcome house guests.
  • Make animals dependent on human food sources; this may cause them to lose some of their ability to survive in the wild, resulting in dangerous encounters with people and other animals.
  • Put domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, at risk physically, or expose them to disease.

What about feeding birds and feral cats?

Bird feeders are permitted; however, we reserve the right to address an accumulation of bird feed and/or bird feces, which could attract rodents and rats. If you have a bird feeder, please keep it clean.

Feral cats are not considered to be wild animals, according to our bylaw. That means feeding feral cats is not prohibited; however, we strongly recommend against doing so, as the food you put out could attract other wildlife.

 Urban wildlife programs
  • We make information on urban wildlife - and the role we all play in respecting wild animals - available in various ways, including:
  • Coyote education and awareness - Coyotes are a natural inhabitant of area. They can often be found living in many of our parks, greenspaces and natural areas. By understanding and respecting these animals, we can live in harmony with them. To learn more about living with coyotes and what you should do if you encounter one, check out our 
    coyote fact sheet.
  • Geese management program - Learn how we manage geese in Victoria Park.
  • Rats - We - like many urban centres - provide habitat for rats. Please be aware these animals are around, and take steps to avoid any conflicts. The Region of Waterloo has developed a fact sheet about rats. For more information, please call the Region of Waterloo public health department at 519-575-4400.
  • Kitchener's Natural Areas Program - The Kitchener Natural Areas Program (KNAP) offers interesting workshops and events; many are about some of the wild animals living in Kitchener. Check out our upcoming events and activities taking place in our natural areas.

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