Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Sad (set of) Tail(s)

Today we received a phone call from a very nice girl. Her roommate however, was a little bit misguided leading to a very sad situation.

The story is one we hear at least several times each year. This individual was having a “problem” with a raccoon. Unfortunately, before seeking advice that would have possibly mitigated the situation peacefully, or at least humanely, he took matters into his own hands and decided the best solution was to end the life of this animal. Unfortunately, there are plenty of officials and companies out there that may tell individuals in these situations that the only solution is to remove the “offending” animal one way or another. Anyone who’s worked with the Wildlife In Need Center hopefully knows different – that there are many other ways to solve conflicts between humans and our wild neighbors.

Too little too late, this caring girl turned to WINC for advice only after it was discovered that the raccoon whose life had been lost had been a mother to several small, helpless, now orphaned, baby raccoons.

Baby raccoons are orphaned everyday for various reasons, when they are orphaned needlessly by uncaring individuals it takes up space and resources for those who legitimately need the care of rehabilitators

This is the time of year where many females of many species have given birth or will become mothers soon. These animals, contrary to popular belief, aren’t extra aggressive or any more likely to cause “trouble.” What these dedicated parents are looking for is a safe place to raise their young and enough food to keep themselves and their young alive and strong. If the way that we live our lives wasn’t removing more and more of the natural areas and sources for these needs and replacing them with our own versions, there would be far fewer “conflicts.”

Cute and cuddly, these little guys require many months of intense care to reach maturity and should never be raised by inexperienced individuals.

Before you, a friend, or a neighbor do something that is going to impact the lives of helpless babies consider the following and then contact the Wildlife In Need Center or your nearest wildlife rehabilitator for further suggestions.
  • If you can pinpoint a food source that might be attracting animals, eliminate it, or at least move it or limit their access to it. The further away a parent has to go for food the more likely they are to move their nest closer to that food source.
  • If a mother has taken up residence in your attic, garage, or any other place where it is absolutely not possible to allow them to stay use some standard humane hazing techniques from our website and look at ways to exclude them (and anyone else) from returning once they move on to a safer home.
  • Especially during this time of year, always assume that an animal could be a female and that she could have young somewhere. If you have problems with animals getting unwanted access never just seal off the entry point and assume that there won’t be babies left behind. If so, the mother might just break right through your fix making things worse than they were to begin with. Look at humane hazing techniques to convince mom to move elsewhere, or just let her finish rearing her young and then repair the area. 
  • Never purposely get in between a mother and her young, and certainly never corner an adult animal during any time of the year.
After months (yes months!) of care these "little bandits" become bigger, stronger and much more difficult to handle. This is the time they are ready to be released into new territories to survive the way they were born to survive - free.

Conflicts can be resolved peacefully, always contact a rehabilitator before taking drastic measures. Thank you for caring.

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