LOUISBOURG, N.S. - Experts have determined that a coyote believed to be involved in a shocking attack on a young hiker on a Cape Breton trail was neither diseased nor hungry.
Parks Canada staff tracked and destroyed a coyote last Tuesday, hours after Taylor Mitchell, a folksinger from Toronto, was mauled by two of the animals in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The 19-year-old later died in a Halifax hospital.
The federal agency said the Atlantic Veterinary Centre has done tests on the coyote and preliminary results suggest it was involved in the attack on the Skyline Trail, which remained closed Monday.
"There's no evidence of rabies or other disease or any other physical element of the animal that might have led to this attack," said Chip Bird, a field unit superintendent with Parks Canada in Cape Breton.
Bird said the coyote was a 14-kilogram adult female in "really healthy shape." There was also evidence that the coyote had food in its system.
"This was not a hungry or starving animal," he said.
There have been a number of theories as to why the coyotes attacked Mitchell as she hiked alone on the popular trail. Coyotes are considered shy animals that are typically fearful of humans.
Some experts have suggested the coyotes were young, inexperienced and unafraid of humans. Others have theorized the animals were diseased.
Bird said Parks Canada staff are talking to other wildlife experts in hopes of determining what happened.
Meanwhile, the search continues on the Skyline Trail and other trails nearby for the second coyote involved in the attack.