Coyote attacks teenager in Cape Breton

A 14-year-old Nova Scotia boy is recovering from coyote bites to his leg and buttock after he was attacked by an aggressive animal while on a Cape Breton trail on Tuesday night.

The Department of Natural Resources said the teenager was riding a dirt bike, and had dismounted, when he was attacked on a trail near Sydport Industrial Park in the Westmount area of Cape Breton.

He was checked out by health officials and his wounds are not considered serious, the department said Wednesday in a news release.

Terry Power, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, told CBC News the boy managed to fight off the animal and took off on his bike.

Power said he interviewed the victim and his father and it's not clear what prompted the attack.

"It's difficult to explain, quite frankly. We visited the site, we do look for something in the area that might explain what took place. For example, coyotes have been known to defend a kill quite aggressively," said Power.

"We looked for that sort of sign as well as potentially a den in the area, but no. It's just an unusual occurrence, it's rare."

Wildlife officials are searching the trail and have called in a trained trapper to remove the animal.

"It's surprising that the animal was right there when he stopped the bike, assuming that he was moving along at motorcycle speed through the trail," said Power.

"It's possible that the animal did follow him and he behaved normally. As far as we can tell, it was an unprovoked attack."

In 2010, Nova Scotia began paying trappers $20 per coyote pelt as part of a bounty program designed to reduce aggressive coyote behaviour.

There were several calls to bring in the bounty after the death of a Toronto singer in October 2009. Taylor Mitchell, 19, was killed by two coyotes while hiking the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Both animals have since been caught and destroyed.