Want to Volunteer at Procyon Wildlife?

Our orphaned and injured baby wildlife needs your help.

NEW VOLUNTEERS APPLY HERE

RETURNING VOLUNTEERS APPLY HERE

INTERN APPLICATION FORM

It’s not too early in the year to consider becoming a Procyon wildlife volunteer, as our training sessions will start very soon. In the past, our baby season officially began on April 1st, however, because of the mild winters that we’ve been experiencing several years in a row, babies are being born earlier and earlier. For this reason, our season will begin on March 1st.

If interested in learning more about volunteering with us, please visit here or contact our volunteer coordinator, Linda Boag-Moores at 20****@pr*************.com">in**@pr*************.com.

During baby season wildlife babies need to be fed frequently during the day which is why our first shift goes from 6 am in the morning and our last shift ends at 11 pm at night).

 Please volunteer today. Animal care is rewarding. Help is in your hands.

Interested in Volunteering with Us?

Animal Updates February 2024

Article and photos by Jen Howard

Read Time: 3 minutes

Frankie the Fox.

Frankie has made it to an outdoor enclosure. She was found with mange. A concerned citizen called in and had Frankie in a trap within an hour or so. She was very hungry so was put on slow feed protocol until she was ready for a full meal. She was pretty mellow until she started feeling better. At that point we were all happy to have her act like a fox. We still had to wait for her naked tail to grow fur back before she could go outside.

Finally, the day came. She was not at all happy to be caught, but that soon changed when she got outside on a beautiful mild sunny day. She sniffed, explored, climbed a bit, and found her favourite spot on top of a wooden straw stuffed house. She has 2 warm houses and a few Christmas trees to keep her warm and comfy. From then on, she sat up there like the Queen sniffing the air, taking in the beautiful sunshine she had missed. She was happy. It’s very important to acclimatize an animal before they go free at this time of year, and to make sure they have enough fur to go out as well. So wonderful to see this happy little fox getting ready for her journey back home.

Rusty the Red Tail

Rusty is coming around in baby steps. He has come out to join us in the trailer a couple of times for some events. Handled by Crystal he did very well. Small steps to get him used to his new surroundings and handlers, and his new life. He will enjoy his new life better once he gets accustomed to all the new adventures he will experience. One day at a time. 

Edgar the Raven

We have a volunteer who has been spending a lot of time with Edgar. Bringing him special treats and toys, playing music. He is really enjoying all this attention. Edgar was a wild raven who was shot in his wing. Unable to fly again he was kept as an education bird. He may never be a bird we hold like Rusty as he was wild, but for now he very much enjoys our company and all the goodies we bring him. He talks to wild crows and ravens when he hears them around. Love that raven call. Absolutely stunning bird. 

Opossum 

This opossum was attacked by a dog, he came in with a broken leg and a broken pelvis.  His last vet check was a good one and he was moved from his small enclosure into a larger one to get more exercise.  So, his prognosis seems to be very good for a slow but full recovery. Just what we wanted to hear.

Jen

Let’s Talk Distemper

Article and photos by Jen Howard

Read Time: 3 minutes

We were really hoping for a quiet winter this year, but like last winter, that hasn’t happened. Up to half our winter admissions have been coming in with distemper. A terribly sad disease for which there is no cure. This may be a sign of the times; changing climate and habitat loss affecting most every living being. During cold winters, raccoons enter a dormancy state called torpor. Due to the unusually mild and snowless winter this year raccoons have been awake and actively socializing with each other, thus increasing the risk of spreading viruses such as canine distemper. The virus is spread by one animal coming into contact with the infected animal’s bodily fluids, saliva or feces, and through inhalation of airborne droplets. The incubation period is 6 to 22 days.  

Early onset there may only be behavioural signs. They may just curl up with their head tucked under, they put themselves in harm’s way, getting hit by cars, quilled by porcupines. They may develop seizures which can be full blown or present like a chewing seizure or a chill effect. You may see one looking disoriented and or wandering aimlessly, walking in circles. A healthy wild raccoon is NOT friendly, and WILL NOT approach you or your pets in any way. They DON’T come looking in your windows or wait at your door. Any of these signs could suggest distemper. As the disease progresses there are physical signs as well. There may be a discharge from, or crustiness around the nose and/or eyes. The animal could be emaciated, their fur could look rough, not clean or groomed.  

Be aware though, that raccoons can come out in mild weather and search for food at night. When it gets cold again, they will go back to sleeping in a sheltered place. And remember, come spring, you can see them out during the day as they need to search for food, mothers will have young ones waiting for them, so DO NOT relocate them. 

If you see an animal suspected of distemper near your home, or on your journeys, please call us at 905 729 0033 and leave a message. We will call you back and tell you how to proceed.  Do NOT have your pets in the car when you transport a wild animal, it is not safe. Keep the ride warm and quiet, no talking, no radios. This is so very important to an already stressed animal.

You are being kind by getting them to a rehab centre. Here they will be put into isolation and monitored for 14 days. They will be be kept warm, have a full tummy and be comfy and safe. If it is immediately obvious that they are indeed suffering from distemper they will be humanely euthanized so they don’t suffer any longer. This saves them from any more pain, confusion, and suffering. It truly is a horrible sickness for them.  

If an animal you suspect of distemper was on your deck or around your home you can use 10 parts water to 1-part bleach and spray the surface down. Fix your home so they cannot get in. And please, if in doubt, MAKE THAT CALL. 905 729 0033 We are here for you, and wildlife in need. 

Jen Howard

Help from Our Wildlife Friends

Article by Elizabeth Trickey

Read Time: 3 minutes

Most of us love watching wildlife and understand that each species is necessary for life on Earth.  But do we really know and appreciate what they actually do for us?  Well, keep reading to find out how important our wildlife friends are.

Do you like bananas, mangoes, avocados?  How about a cold Margarita on a hot summer evening?  You can thank the bats for those things!  Southern bats have extremely long tongues that can reach to the bottom of the flowers of those fruits to extract the nectar needed for pollination.  Just bats do this.  No other animal.  Our more northern bats help farmers by eating insects that damage crops, and their guano (poo!) is a great fertilizer. 

 Many of our flying friends such ladybugs, bees, butterflies, birds, and even mosquitoes help fertilize fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we depend on for nutrition.  As well, they help pollinate plants that humans use in industry for wood products, clothing, building, and medications.  Bees provide us with $30 billion a year in crops!  The world can’t do without those wee critters!

As for mosquitoes, as much as they can ruin a great summer BBQ, they are food for quite a number of species such as frogs, dragonflies, fish, and spiders, all of which which we need to balance our ecosystem.  That goes the same for ticks, which are a main food for bats and some birds.

Vultures eat dead critters that sometimes die of serious illnesses like rabies.  These raptors have immune systems that allow them to tolerate bacteria, even anthrax, cholera, and botulism!  Without vultures to rid our communities of decomposing cadavers, we are at risk of being exposed to these toxic carcasses that will seep into our water table.

Birds of prey keep our mice and rat populations down, with owls being the main predator.  Snakes and weasels also chow down on these rodents, which is great because rats are a health risk for us, and damage crops. Frogs provide many benefits to humans.  Besides eating mosquitoes, ticks, and slugs, and being a food source for several species, they provide us with substances that are developed into painkillers, antibiotics, and medical products such as surgical glue.  As well, baby tadpoles eat algae which helps keep the water clean and oxygen in wetland areas.

Squirrels are active all year round, so need to collect and bury seeds to eat during the winter.  Sadly for them, but good for us, they don’t always remember where they hid them!  These uneaten seeds become plants and trees which help to replenish our forests.

When beavers build dams, they create deeper water areas which help to keep the surrounding land moist.  This is a benefit since dams filter water, making it safer to consume, and it helps in farming.  Dams also lessen the chance of forest fires which kill both floral and fauna, and emit toxic fumes.

And what do chipmunks do for us?  They amuse us!  We cannot diminish the emotional aspect of watching wildlife.  Chipmunks bring joy to many people with their antics and cheeks stuffed with treats.  Emotional health is as important as physical health.

This is just a small sampling of how our wildlife friends contribute to our lives.  Protecting critters is protecting ourselves.  That’s what we do at Procyon Wildlife.  We care for every animal in need of help that comes to us.  And when they are healthy and ready to return to their natural habitat, we release them.  Please help us do this work by making a donation. 

Photo: Rising Sun

Happy Healthy Fox Stories

Article, photos and video by Annette Bays

Approximate Read Time: 3 minutes

As a rule, Procyon Wildlife, and therefore this newsletter, deals with sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife. It is our mandate after all. And particularly in the case of foxes, over the last few years there has been a lot of bad news – most of this in the form of mange. So, I thought I would change things up a little, and talk about happy healthy foxes! The ones I see on my property in particular.

At least I believe the foxes around my property are generally happy and healthy. They certainly seem relaxed and playful, as you can see in the pictures below. Mind you,  knowing foxes are solitary for the most part, and that it is currently the middle of mating season, could also explain this behaviour.

These next pictures were taken very close to where the foxes have had a den in previous years. One of the foxes wrapped its bushy tail around itself to keep warm, and had a long nap, not at all bothered by the snow coming down. Aside from keeping them warm, foxes also use their tails for balance, and to communicate with other foxes. The way they sleep has always reminded me of my cats, and it turns out that isn’t the only similarity.

The fox is a member of the Canidae family – making it a relative of the dog, but foxes actually have a lot more in common with cats. To begin with they climb trees, they hunt and use their whiskers similarly to cats and they are nocturnal. Their eyes have vertical slit pupils and shine in the dark. They are also not much bigger than a cat. Some fox species (not Red) actually even have retractable claws. And they all walk on the pads of their feet (like walking on their toes) so they stride quietly and elegantly like a cat. As you can see from this video I took the other day, foxes walk, and run elegantly, even on ice.

YouTube player

Although foxes have an excellent sense of smell, in winter they almost exclusively use their amazing hearing for hunting. They can hear their prey under feet of snow or debris. But the most interesting fact researchers have found is that no matter the time of year, foxes almost always jump at their prey in a northeasterly direction. They put this down to foxes somehow using the earth’s magnetic field to triangulate the location of their prey. Although other animals also have this magnetic sense, only foxes are known to use it for hunting.

There are so many other fascinating things I could say about foxes (and in the spring I will definitely be sharing some information and images of my experiences with kits coming out of the den), but for now I’d like to finish by repeating what has been mentioned by Procyon volunteers many times, and that is to remember that foxes non-confrontational. They will avoid conflict with you and your pets if they can. They are just very curious by nature, and they find us as interesting to watch, as we do them.

Animal Updates – January 2024

Article and Images by Jen Howard

Read time: 3 minutes

                                                                   

Opossum (Regina)

This little girl is so very lucky. A woman found the opossum after her dog found her in their backyard. Opossums play dead if all else fails, and Regina did that well. She convinced the lady she was actually dead. Burial wasn’t possible due to the frozen ground (thank goodness), so Regina was put into the garbage to avoid the dog getting her again. When the woman went to take the garbage out in the morning, there was this adorable little injured opossum looking up at her saying “good morning”.  The woman was very happy to see her alive, and even more so to find out that the wounds on Regina were old and infected, not inflicted by her dog at all. Moral of this story is that in fact the woman’s dog did the opossum a huge favour by finding her and bringing attention to her.  She was secured and brought to Procyon and is under care and doing well.  Way to go pup. 

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