Coauthors: Kylee Hinde and Angela van Breemen, photo by Jennifer Howard
The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to rehabilitate wildlife and release them back to their natural habitat.
This should go without saying, but, now and again, we get unusual requests from members of the public to adopt, rent or buy wildlife. Unfortunately, some people believe that wild animals are meant for their entertainment. Popular posts on social media perpetuate the misconception that baby wildlife is okay to cuddle and pose with to get that perfect selfie.
This “cuteness” appeal does nothing toward educating the public that constant interaction with humans will mean certain death for that animal. When an animal becomes socialised with humans it will probably not be able to survive on its own once it has been released back to the wild.
Feeding wild animals to get that perfect picture is also a very dangerous practice as the animal forgets how to hunt or forage, loses its fear of humans, and can become aggressive when “easy food” does not materialize. In October of 2022, the Toronto Star reported sightings of two aggressive coyotes in Scarborough, Ontario. Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada was quoted, “We know 100 per cent that there are people going into that area feeding just for photo snaps, it’s been a chronic thing happening there.”
The human obsession with having to hold, touch, take pictures of everything they think is cute is endangering the lives of wild animals across the globe. Can we not be content to see a raccoon out in the wild? A deer in a field? A cottontail in a park? The belief that every animal is to be treated as commodities for us to consume is a disturbing human trait.
We sometimes get requests from members of the public to “tour” our facility to view the animals. This request, while well-meaning, goes against what we are trying to do as rehabbers. The animals in our care are either wounded, ill or on their journey to be released. Allowing the viewing of these animals is not only against our guidelines but against the philosophy of rehabilitation.
We aim to limit wildlife to human interactions as much as possible. For example, once our wildlife babies are weaned off their formula, interaction with our caregivers and wildlife is restricted to feeding, providing medication if necessary and cleaning cages. We make every effort to avoid direct contact so that the animals learn how to be wild, so that a squirrel learns how to be a squirrel, a fox to be a fox, a raccoon to be a raccoon.
Taking pictures and videos of the wildlife in our care is immensely important to our facility, as we are a charity and rely on donations to save more wildlife every year. Our photographs chronologize the progress our animals are making and are of interest to our supporters who know these animals are receiving the best care from us.
Our photos are taken by trained wildlife caregivers and are always done safely and respectfully. Our website and social media accounts also help with public education and help to get more members of the public interested and involved in wildlife rehabilitation. If you are interested in volunteering with us, visit this link: https://www.procyonwildlife.com/volunteering-at-procyon/
We know nearly all our supporters feel that same way as us. And thank you to every one of you who continue to donate, like our posts and cheer us on.
Please help us spread the word and educate those around us who may not yet have a respect for wild animals and their dignity. Animals are not put on this earth for our own consumption; they are serving a much more important purpose.
Keep up to date with animals’ progress at the centre by visiting our Animal Updates: https://www.procyonwildlife.com/category/animal-updates/