A run-of-the-mill backwoods camping trip turned into a desperate survival situation for three Canadian campers last Friday night when a pack of coyotes began aggressively encroaching on their campground. The campers were in their tent in Cape Dauphin on the northeastern shore of Nova Scotia in a very remote area near Cape Breton Highlands National Park when the incident occurred.
The Canadian Coast Guard was called to the scene to save the campers after they phoned for help. Corporal Andrew Joyce with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the area is remote and inaccessible by all-terrain vehicles, therefore rescue arrived by boat. Officials determined that the closest vessel to the beach was a fishing vessel and they ordered it to rescue the group.
It is unknown exactly how many coyotes surrounded the three campers and the dog.
“At one point, the three hikers were estimating there might of been as many as 18 (coyotes), and in speaking with the Department of Natural Resources personnel they actually report that the conditions that night might have been right for that many to gather,” RCMP Constable Brad Anderson said.
The RCMP, the Antigonish Police Dog Services, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Coast Guard Halifax and Coast Guard Reserve all responded to the distress call.
“I believe we were within contact physically within an hour of the event, and it was somewhat — without sounding dramatic —heroic of the persons that did make contact,” Cpl. Joyce said to CBC News.
“It was quite a way to go, and at the time of the day, under darkness,” he added. “But because of the urgency, the rescuers did make contact fairly fast, and that in itself is a credit to those members who achieved that.”
None of the campers were hurt, although one did sustain minor injuries while climbing into the rescue boat.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park has a somewhat notorious reputation for a coyote attack incident that occurred in 2009. Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old folk singer from Toronto, was fatally wounded by three coyotes while hiking in the park in one of the few recorded coyote attacks on humans.