Page last updated at 00:23 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Coyotes kill Canadian folk singer

Taylor Mitchell (undated promotional pic)
Taylor Mitchell was found bleeding heavily from multiple bite wounds

Two coyotes have attacked and killed a 19-year-old folk singer in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada, officials say.

Taylor Mitchell, a promising musician from Toronto, died in hospital after the animals pounced as she hiked alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Walkers alerted park rangers after hearing her screams. The rangers shot one coyote, but were still searching for the second.

Attacks by coyotes on humans are rare; they usually prey on deer and hares.

Bleeding heavily from multiple bite wounds, the singer-songwriter was airlifted to a Halifax hospital, but died of her injuries on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

'Phenomenally talented'

"Coyotes are normally afraid of humans. This is a very irregular occurrence," Brigdit Leger, a spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told Reuters news agency.

She said the two coyotes were "extremely aggressive" when authorities arrived at the scene.

Coyotes are also known as prairie wolves

The small wolf-like animals are found from Central America to the United States and Canada.

Ms Mitchell - touted as a rising star in the folk music scene - was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award earlier this year in the youth category.

"Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman," Lisa Weitz, Ms Mitchell's manager, said in an e-mail to the Associated Press news agency.

"She just turned 19 two months ago, and was so excited about the future."

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