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The City of Montreal said Sunday it is taking action to prevent coyote attacks, after police reported that three young children were bitten within the span of a week.

In a statement, the city said it has installed cameras and bait, and will be increasing the presence of city employees around parks where the incidents occurred as part of what it calls a “scaring campaign.”

“The city is working closely with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to put in place the necessary actions ... as the situation evolves,” the statement read.

The most recent attack occurred Saturday, when a three-year-old boy was wounded by a coyote about 6:30 p.m. in a park in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, police said. The child was taken to hospital with minor injuries as a precautionary measure.

A boy and a girl, both age 5, were also bitten in separate incidents last week. Police said they both suffered minor injuries, and health officials specified that the boy suffered a bite to the calf, while the girl had a lower-body injury.

The city launched a coyote management program earlier this year amid a rise in the number of sightings, saying on its website earlier this month that some 600 coyote sightings had been reported in just under a year.

“People forget it, but coyotes have always been urban animals,” city biologist Frederic Bussiere said in the article published by the city on July 13.

They’re found in every North American city, but “we don’t notice them because they’ve chosen to adopt a nocturnal lifestyle in order to avoid encounters with humans, which they fear,” he said.

While attacks are rare, the article noted that “certain individuals have become less fearful in the metropolis” in the last year.

Lesley Sampson, the co-founder of Coyote Watch Canada, said the reported incidents signal a need for more public education to ensure people don’t harass or feed wildlife.

“When we see emerging trends with encounters of wild canids and people, we know the messaging and the enforcement is not being done to the level it needs to be,” Sampson said in a phone interview.

Trapping and killing the animals doesn’t solve anything because more will move in, she said.

Sampson, who disputes the police’s claim that three children were bitten, said the first thing parents should do is make sure their children understand not to chase wildlife.

The city also recommended people keep their dogs on leashes and refrain from approaching coyotes in order to minimize incidents, and noted that many people end up inadvertently feeding the animals by leaving out cat food or garbage.

Bussiere suggested that anyone who sees a coyote should remain calm and give it room to run away. He also recommended people raise their arms, yell or throw objects so the coyote retains a fear of humans.

Anyone who spots a coyote in Montreal is asked to report it to the city, which has set up a “coyote hotline” for the issue.

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