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.

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, ext. 5147.
  • 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.

Contact Us