A young, Toronto woman hiking the Skyline Trail Tuesday in Cape Breton Highlands National Park has died after being attacked by a pair of coyotes.
The 19-year-old woman was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after RCMP officers responded to a 411 call that two coyotes were mauling a hiker. The young victim died in hospital from her injuries.
The RCMP confirmed Wednesday the young victim's identity as Taylor Josephine Stephanie Luciow. She performed under the name Taylor Mitchell. A folk musician from Toronto, she was in the middle of her Atlantic Winds and Sea Shanties tour
of the Maritime provinces and had upcoming performances in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. According to her Facebook page, Mitchell was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award earlier this month for her debut CD For Your Consideration.
Mitchell's manager Lisa Weitz wrote in an e-mail to the Halifax Chronicle Herald that the young singer "had just gotten her licence and her first set of wheels to take her on the road to the Maritimes
RCMP Sgt. Brigit Leger said, "Another hiker who happened to be on the trail came across the attack." At the scene the RCMP shot one of the coyotes but the wounded animal, along with a second coyote, escaped into the woods.
A Parks Canada spokesperson reported that one of the coyotes involved in the fatal attack Tuesday had been killed but it was not the one shot by the RCMP at the scene of the attack. The Skyline trail is now closed as Parks Canada conservation officers search for the aggressive, wounded animal still at large. It will be killed when found.
According to a provincial Natural Resources website
, the Eastern coyotes involved in the attack are not native to Nova Scotia but were first recorded in the province in 1977. Over the intervening decades they have dispersed across the province. Adults weight from 35 pounds to more than 55 pounds for the largest males.
Eastern coyotes are considerably larger than its western counterpart
but both are usually considered very wary of humans and will avoid people if possible.
Changes in coyote behaviour have been noted when the predatory animals live in close and constant contact with people. They lose caution and fear . . . and threaten human safety.
Taylor Mitchell posted to both Facebook