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Signs at the entrance of a park warn of the danger of coyotes in Montreal on July 31, 2018.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The City of Montreal is taking all necessary steps to track down a coyote that is believed to have attacked three young children in the past week, Montreal’s mayor said Monday.

Valerie Plante told reporters the city is working with a private firm contracted to track and bait coyotes — in particular those animals that might be sick and can become problematic or aggressive.

In the wake of last week’s attacks, the city announced it has installed cameras and bait while increasing the presence of municipal workers as part of a “scaring campaign” in the north-end borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville where the incidents occurred.

Three children, two boys and a girl all five and under, were treated for minor injuries after coming across the wild animals.

Plante said simply removing them from the island won’t work.

“The coyotes are here, we can’t just get rid of them,” Plante said. “It would just create more problems and they would just come back.”

The city launched a coyote management program earlier this year amid a marked rise in the number of sightings — about 600 in just under a year.

Montreal joined other major Canadian cities in introducing a coyote hotline this year, allowing people to call in if they see one of the animals.

Although coyotes have been a part of the city’s landscape for decades, the number of sightings in residential areas has increased greatly.

The city’s plan is to educate the population about co-existing with the animals and to intervene only to manage problematic coyote cases.

Coyotes are generally fearful of humans and have a nocturnal lifestyle. They are not generally aggressive, and it’s unclear what triggers their attacks.

Officials warn citizens not to feed or approach the animals; keep pets on a leash while walking in parks; and to back away slowly, keep calm and maintain eye contact if one is encountered.

If the creature behaves aggressively, the city suggests making an effort to appear as big as possible and scare the animal away by throwing things in its direction without striking it.

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