Article and photos by Jennifer Howard
We have had quite a few admissions during the month of May that were very difficult. So I will touch base on a few as best I can.
Apollo & Adrienne
Starting May 11th for a couple of days.
Little Rocky our first arrival, then her two little siblings came to us in bad condition. Little Rocky didn’t make it after having a very long debilitating seizure. One of many that she had suffered in the wild. A video showed us where she was clearly seizing near the den. She passed quietly. She was sent for testing. After thinking it was rat poisoning which could still be part of the issue. There were 35 bait traps found within a 1 km distance of the den. And parents brought in dead rats.
However. It shocked us all when we learned that Rocky had died from the highly pathogenic avian influenza. Somehow it had jumped species (from waterfowl), affecting the fox kits but not appearing to affect the adults. Parents were seen bringing in a dead duck. Along with rats.
Another kit was found dead near the den but there is one remaining kit with its parents and still healthy.
Canadian Wildlife Cooperative Health is overwhelmed with tests at the moment from sick wildlife, so still waiting on health checks to come back. For now both surviving kits are doing well but are still under vet care. All our fox kits have now been moved to outdoor enclosures.
Fox Release. May 12th. Megan and Jamie fox have both gone home. Both Lefroy, Innisfil foxes were good as gold on their ride home. Jamie relaxed and Megan had her nose in the air enjoying the breeze, watching her surroundings. Releases were beautiful.
Ruby and Lucky
Two of our other young fox kits had to both undergo surgery for the removal of their right eyes. Lucky was a tiny eyes closed kit found in a den wounded, the only survivor.
Ruby was found in a parking lot. Presumably clipped by a car. Eyes in both kits were too badly wounded to save. Both romping and playing and doing well. And yes they will be released come fall. And will be fine.
April 11th this badly injured fox arrived at Another Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation in St. Thomas, Ontario.
April 14th she was transferred to Procyon Wildlife were she would be closer to National Wildlife Centre after her surgery.
Momma came to us from Another Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation after having major surgery to repair both front legs which were badly broken. Breaks suggest a fall from some height but was found in the middle of the road so we don’t really know. She is called Momma because she was a lactating mother. In spite of all efforts made by Another Chance for some time, searching nearby dens etc. her kits were never found. Our hope was that they were old enough that the father took them away and was caring for them.
Momma saw Dr. Sherri Cox of the National Wildlife Centre again on May 19th. Her left leg has completely healed and pins were removed, but her right leg was still unstable. She had to have another splint put on that leg. She sure is a trooper and will see Dr. Sherri again in one weeks time. We are all rooting for this beautiful foxes full recovery.
Lyla May 17th
This beautiful opossum was deliberately hit by someone. Her vet appointment by Dr. Nelissa of the National Wildlife Centre was a very sad one. X-rays showed her extremely swollen jaw to be severely shattered. Her one eye was damaged beyond repair and although we did check her pouch. She was found to have one baby tucked in so deeply it was not detected. Opossums usually have more than one, others may have been tossed out on impact. This one went very deep into mom’s pouch after the trauma, it did not survive. Momma had to be humanely euthanized. She was already sedated and sleeping, she felt no pain. This was an extremely hard decision that our vet had to make.
Rabbit May 19th
The young rabbit who was brought to us with an arrow right through its small body also had to be humanely euthanized later that day. It was found in a park. X-rays showed the arrow went right through both of her kidneys. Rabbits have a very delicate stomach and the arrow was so close and fur and skin were forced inside her as it passed which not only damaged both her kidneys but she would have gone septic with infection and died. Again an extremely difficult decision was made to euthanize her.
Both these young lives did not deserve to die. Or to go through this horrible pain, suffering and animal cruelty. It was a very tough night for us all.
This incident was reported to authorities. A conservation officer came in the next day to Procyon and picked up the arrow.
Doris the porcupine – is BORIS!
Doris has been with us since November 9th, 2021. She had severe mange. And an upper respiratory infection. A difficult one. Good news is Doris saw Dr. Nelissa on May 20th. She is now free of mange, had her teeth trimmed, and turns out Doris is a male. Misidentification of gender does happen sometimes and with porcupines, it is difficult to tell. Boris is a real sweetheart, he has been a good patient and has now been moved to an outdoor enclosure. Enjoying the smells of fresh air, and the sounds of birds and gentle breezes again. He is climbing and getting to be a porcupine again, closer to the natural environment he came from. No date on release as yet.
We have admitted three fawns and taken one transfer from another rehab so this single one would have company. Fawns need to be with other fawns. One fawn came in tiny and injured. But all four are doing well in a protected outdoor enclosure.
Also, our little coyote pup was transferred to another rehabilitation centre so that she will have the company of other pups her size.
As you can see this has been a very difficult month at Procyon. We had patients come in critical, sicknesses come in, putting us in an unexpected lockdown. While all through the month it was not uncommon to have 23 plus calls regarding animals mostly orphaned, some injured on any given day.
We lost animals, we saved animals. We had to turn away far too many babies. It seems all wildlife rehabilitation centres are full to capacity.
Here are some things you can do to help wildlife:
- Please, do not relocate adults leaving orphans behind.
- Keep cats inside
- Keep dogs on leash.
- Search for a bunny nest before you cut the lawn.
- Seal any place in your homes that wildlife could enter before it has the chance, before baby season.
- Do not move birds’ nest.
- Do not move bunny nests.
All these things will help us too. So that we can help those who really need the help. So we don’t get filled to capacity during these busy times.
And call us for advice or to help you with your questions at 905-729-0033 or email us at in**@pr*************.com
And remember, wild animals are not meant to be pets, don’t handle or pet them, don’t let your pets near them, keep them quiet and warm but don’t give anything by mouth until you contact us.
Help is in your hands, it’s in all our hands.
Animal Update Photos by Jennifer Howard