TORONTO – Two coyotes attacked a Canadian woman while she was hiking alone in a national park in eastern Canada, and authorities said she died Wednesday of her injuries.
The victim was identified as Taylor Mitchell, 19, a singer-songwriter from Toronto.
She was hiking solo on a trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia on Tuesday when the attack occurred. She was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in critical condition and died Wednesday morning, authorities said.
Coyotes, which also are known as prairie wolves, are found from Central American to the United States and Canada.
Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft said coyote attacks are extremely rare because the animals are usually shy.
Bancroft, a retired biologist with Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources, said it's possible the coyotes thought Mitchell was a deer or other prey.
"It's very unusual and is not likely to repeated," Bancroft said. "We shouldn't assume that coyotes are suddenly going to become the big bad wolf."
Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Brigdit Leger said other hikers heard Mitchell's screams for help on Tuesday and called emergency police dispatchers.
Police who were in the area shot one of the animals, apparently wounding it. But the wounded animal and a companion coyote managed to get away.
Mitchell was an up-and-coming folk and country musician.
"Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman," Lisa Weitz, Mitchell's manager, said in an e-mail. "She just turned 19 two months ago, and was so excited about the future."