Helping and Living Peacefully with Wildlife

As communities continue to expand into rural areas, wildlife is of course being displaced.  Some rummage our trash cans, some get stuck in car engines, and others set-up camp in our attic.  The Humane Society receives a large volume of calls especially in the warmer months for wildlife – nuisance, sick, injured or orphaned.  What can the public do about them if they come across them?  We’ve compiled the most common situations and the most appropriate course of action for each.

Nuisance wildlife:  Nuisance wildlife are understandably…a nuisance. However, through the humane society, it’s officers are not able to handle nuisance calls.  If you have a squirrel making a nest in your family room wall, or a raccoon mom with babies in your attic, you’re best to call humane wildlife control to have assistance removing them and closing off their entry point.  Humane wildlife companies have many measures to ensure that they can remove animals from your house and ensure their safety and well-being (and that of their off spring if there are any).  It should be noted that if a member of the public chooses to remove the nuisance wildlife themselves, they should consider if there are babies involved.  Young raccoons as an example must remain with their mothers for a much longer period of time.  Separating them means the babies could be left to suffer.  Wildlife can also be legally removed from a property no more than one kilometre away.

Sick or injured wildlife: with things such as rabies and distemper affecting wildlife populations, it’s important to call your local animal control to determine what steps you can take to assist an injured animal.  Animal control is equipped to safely handle these situations and determine what medical attention is available for the species in question.  If animal control does not attend to wildlife in your area, try contacting a local wildlife rehabilitation location or rescue.  They should be able to give you the best course of action. It should be noted that wildlife should be rehabilitated by licensed rehabbers.  To find a full list of licensed rehabbers in Ontario visit Ontariowildliferescue.ca.

Orphaned wildlife: it’s important to determine if an animal truly is orphaned before touching or removing it from it’s current location.  As an example, rabbits may leave their young for upwards of 24 hours, as well as deer.  It’s best to quietly monitor the young and if the mother doesn’t return after 24 hours, then human intervention may be needed.  If you have a concern about an orphaned wild animal, you can also contact the humane society or your local wildlife rescue to inquire about the best course of action.

And don’t forget – wildlife rescues are also typically not-for-profit organizations that rely on fundraising and donations to help animals in need.  If a wildlife rescue is available to help you, consider making a cash donation, or donating old towels or blankets, carriers, formula and bottles, or pet food.  Or better yet, see if they need volunteers!