In the midst of another busy summer, at least 77 raccoons got another chance at life thanks to BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC).
The Metchosin-based rehabilitation centre nearly hits its 80-raccoon capacity each summer, taking in dozens of babies separated from their mothers.
|Some raccoons getting their first taste of freedom after being released by Wild ARC volunteers. (Facebook/Wild ARC)|
“There’s many different situations where they would come to us,” said Wild ARC assistant manager Tara Thom. “But the majority come to us because they were orphaned.”
Babies can be left behind when the mother moves the litter from one den to another – or worse, is hit by a car.
Displaced from their mothers, baby raccoons are unlikely to survive. Depending on their age, babies are bottle-fed or fed formula before being moved on to solid food. Eventually, the raccoons are placed in outdoor wildlife enclosures.
“We do the very best we can… to limit the amount of handling,” Thom says. “Babies have to be bottle fed, but we do not want them to be habituated to humans.”
Thom knows raccoons don’t always have a great reputation, especially in urban areas. She says its important to make a proper effort to coexist with the animals around us by containing our waste and garbage.
“A life is a life. We believe that these animals matter, and they are very smart animals. We can easily coexist with one another.”
The BC SPCA recently created AnimalKind rodent and wildlife control, a welfare accreditation program for pest control companies that ensures kind and humane methods are used to solve critter problems. Home and business owners seeking pest control can search out an accredited company to ensure animals are not harmed.
At its summer 2019 peak, Wild ARC had more than 400 animals in its care. Thom says that number has gone down, but now the organization is preparing for fall, when darker evenings result in more more wild animals injured by vehicles.
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