Taylor Mitchell, was a 19-year-old budding musician from Toronto, Ontario, who was on a tour to promote her debut album. The talented young singer had just released her debut Album to critical acclaim and had been nominated for Young Performer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
She was hiking in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Highlands national park when she was attacked.
There were no witnesses to the assault because she was hiking alone on the Skyline Trail, however there were witnesses who spotted Taylor and the coyotes before to and after the incident.
The Skyline Trail is one of the most popular hiking paths in the park, with 20,000 to 25,000 people per year. Coyotes came on Cape Breton Island in 1978, and by the late 1980′s, deer populations had been reduced.
She arrived at the Skyline Trail parking lot on the afternoon of October 27, 2009, equipped for the chilly weather but without a backpack or food. Taylor was attacked by at least two coyotes, perhaps more, in the middle of the afternoon. Hikers heard Mitchell's screams and requested help. They contacted police and went to investigate after hearing bloodcurdling screams and howls.
The same afternoon, an American couple in the vicinity were startled when two coyotes approached them in the middle of the road, displaying no fear. Coyotes are prevalent in North America and are somewhat larger than foxes but smaller than wolves.
They usually feed on tiny animals like rabbits and rats and run at the first sight of humans. The duo was so struck with the creatures' boldness that they walked aside and photographed them. After a few minutes, the pair heard animal howling and a young lady cry. A trail led them and three other hikers to Taylor.
She'd been attacked by the animals and had multiple significant punctures on her leg and head. When the group yelled at it, the coyote stood over her did not move, and only moved away when they charged at it. It lingered nearby, growling and unfazed, until a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer came and fired his shotgun at it.
According to evidence at the scene, she had been stalked by the animals for some time and was attempting to run back to her car when they attacked. She had tried to protect herself with the penknife and her vehicle keys, but it was ineffective.
She was the only human ever killed by a coyote attack in Canada.
Source: Urban Coyote Research Project
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