A rising Canadian folk singer was killed by coyotes this week in a national park in Nova Scotia, a park spokesman said Thursday.
Taylor Mitchell, 19, was at the beginning of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park on Tuesday afternoon when she was attacked, according to Chip Bird, the Parks Canada field unit superintendent for Cape Breton.
Bird said hikers saw the coyotes attacking Mitchell and called 911. She was airlifted to a hospital in Halifax, where she died about 12 hours later, he said.
Mitchell was recently nominated for Young Performer of the Year honors by Canadian Folk Music Awards. She was touring the Maritime provinces and had a break between gigs to go hiking Tuesday, her manager, Lisa Weitz, said in an e-mail.
“She loved the woods and had a deep affinity for their beauty and serenity,” she wrote.
“Words can’t begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman,” Weitz said.
“Her warmth, loving nature, astounding artistry, and infectious enthusiasm will be so missed and forever remembered.”
Mitchell, who was originally from the Georgian Bay area in Ontario, lived in Toronto, Weitz said.
Bird said the area where the attack occurred is popular and well traveled. It remained closed, and park authorities had shot one coyote believed to be involved. A pathologist will test the animal’s body for diseases that might have triggered the attack, he said.
Searches for other aggressive animals in the park continue, he said.
“Public safety is our primary concern,” he said.
He said no other coyote attacks had ever occurred in the park. “We’ve had coyotes approach people too closely,” he said, and about six years ago one nipped a person.
That animal was killed because of “lack of fear,” he said.
But Tuesday’s attack is “unprecedented and a totally isolated incident,” he said.
100 years ago, human beings engaging in recreational activity in wilderness areas inhabited by large predators would normally be armed. Not today.