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?

April 2024 Animal Updates

Article and photos by Jen Howard

Read Time: Three Minutes

Marc

Our first little fox kit of the year arrived April 19th. He was found all alone behind a school. A young boy picked him up and the next day he was brought to the Centre. He was dehydrated and had early signs of mange. Hydrated and medicated for the mange, he still didn’t want to eat. We are not mom. With time and patience Crystal finally got him to eat. He is now enjoying his tasty nutritious slurries. As fox kits need company, he cried a lot, which is heart breaking to hear. The search began for another kit.

Diva

Another little fox kit was found at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau. She had been attacked by a dog and had a fractured jaw. As young animals with growing bones heal fast, she was soon on the mend and doing very well. But she was also crying from loneliness. I woke up to a beautiful day, kind of rare these days, so spur of the moment I headed up.  Upon arrival my special little passenger was awaiting me. On arrival at Procyon our new little girl Diva was given a topical medication to protect her from getting mange. Marc was treated and on the mend already, but this was a preventative measure. Our introduction of the two little ones went exceptionally well. Diva sniffed around and explored a bit while Marc looked on from inside his house. She is a bit bigger. Finally he came out and sniffed her and followed her around. Then the magic happened. They started playing. We stayed close for a bit to be sure, but it was clear that these two had connected. Then it happened; nose to nose kisses. Kylee Hinde (our Assistant Animal Care /Triage Coordinator) and I were smiling ear to ear. Marc has a sister. They played hard then, curled up and went to sleep. Diva is clearly the boss, but watch out, your little brother will catch up!  Diva’s long road trip and her new playmate/brother tired her out. It was then time for a well-deserved and needed nap for both. Welcome little one.

The same day Marc arrived we had an emergency come in. This time it was a beautiful big male opossum. He was found in distress on a property he frequented. They saw him all the time, and since he was out in the day they realized he was in trouble. He had a wound on his back and he was so cold he was barely moving. They acted immediately and brought him in. We warmed him up slowly and tended to his wounds. We have no idea what happened to this poor gentle soul. He is an old opossum, and ever so sweet. A few days later his wounds look good. He is healing well and is eating well also. Sometimes with a little help from our volunteers we get another story that totally warms one’s heart. And a huge thank you to the couple who brought him in. 

Another first for us came in recently. This one is a Red Bat. He was seen hanging low on a building for over 30 hours. They brought him in to be safe as the weather was crazy. He is a migratory bat and may have been exhausted from his flight with very few insects out there yet. He is eating his mealworms and super worms well and gaining some weight. Hopefully he will be ready for release very soon to get back on his journey. 

Our first baby skunk. Found all alone, no den could be found nearby, no siblings, so he was brought in. Cute little stinker really wanted to give us a squirt. LOL. That’s okay baby it’s a stressful adventure. All good, you’re still cute as a button.

Babies are booming and keeping us busy, Tis the season.

Jen Howard

Helping Our Wildlife

Article and photos by Jen Howard

Read Time: Three Minutes

Babies are being born. Animals, amphibians and reptiles are coming out of hibernation. How can we help?!

Turtles are coming back after a long hibernation, crossing roads, a bit drowsy and slow. If one is crossing a road and you can safely do so, please move them in the direction they are traveling. You can pick smaller turtles up, but if you have a large turtle, you can use your floor mat or shovel. Even just walking behind them should get them moving if all goes well.

Never pick a turtle, or any animal, up by the tail as this is part of their spine. Always wear gloves if you can, or sanitize after touching. If you see one hit, please stop and check for signs of life. Mark down where you are as turtles must go back to that location when recovered. Sometime a female will have eggs, call your nearest wildlife Centre for help. Eggs can be extracted up to a certain amount of time after death and eggs incubated.

Also, there are some turtles that hatch and over winter in the nest. They too are starting to emerge and are very tiny. Walking the trails near wetlands? Watch for these tiny turtles.

Rabbits nest in divots in the ground, surrounded by mothers’ warm fur. If you happen across one and you have pets, you can cover with a laundry basket, cutting an opening for mom to enter to feed. But as rabbits are ready to leave the nest at 3 weeks old, taking dogs out on leash is recommended if you find a nest. There have been so many casualties this year with dogs versus bunnies. And the bunnies usually lose. Crisscross string over the nest if you think Mom is not coming, she will move the string and you will know she has been back. Please keep cats indoors. They are responsible for over a million wildlife deaths a year, especially small animals, birds and babies. Before cutting your lawn, please check first for critters or nests.

Watch for frogs and toads on the roads on a rainy night, and snakes as well as bunnies in your grass before cutting.

Fox, coyote, skunks and raccoons are all nursing young right now, please be respectful and kind, never try to relocate. Don’t kidnap or orphan animals, this puts such a burden on wildlife centres. It also causes stress to a mother separated from her babies, and in some cases, also her mate. Wildlife are incredible parents and amazing to watch if you are lucky to have them nearby. Opossums are remarkable and so important since they love to eat ticks. They are our only marsupial; they carry their babies inside a pouch.

Baby owlets may be found on the ground but unless they are in distress, their parents are nearby and some will even go back to the tree and climb back up. Soon fawns will be appearing and same thing goes there. Mom leaves her fawn in a safe place to keep them secure, just like rabbits. Both babies have no scent. They come back to feed, so unless in distress, crying, or with ears noticeably curled, leave them be. In bear country now’s the time to pull in your feeders. Let’s learn to help out our wildlife to be safe, and learn to co-exist. The rewards are endless.

Jen Howard

Edgar and Other Ravens

Article and photos by Annette Bays, additional photo by Kingfisher888

Read Time: Three Minutes

Do you know how smart ravens are, how agile, and curious? Well, I’d like to tell you a little about these remarkable members of the Corvid family in general, and then more specifically about Procyon’s permanent resident raven, Edgar.

To begin with, ravens are as smart as the average seven year old child (or a gorilla). They have the ability to reason and plan, and are self aware. Not only can they use tools, they can create them. They’ve been seen performing acrobatics in the air. They can figure out complex puzzles. They have been known to co-operatively hunt with wolves. They can recognize faces for decades, and hold a grudge, or like you if you are nice. Ravens are highly vocal in the wild, and in captivity have been trained to say many words. They can mimic a human voice exactly.

Did you know a flock of ravens is called an “unkindness”? This seems to stem from some common Native American mythology wherein ravens are known as mischief makers, possibly due to the belief that ravens symbolize change and transformation, therefore are tricksters. But they also apparently represent ancient wisdom, intelligence, and honesty, and are seen as prophetic messengers from the spirit world. I like to think they are a good omen, a protective spirit, as is also a common belief.

Now on to Edgar. On December 9th of last year, he found a permanent home at Procyon after a long recovery process during which he had to have a portion of his wing amputated, and his lower mandible had to grow back.

Edgar can’t be released back into the wild since he will never fly again, but he is too old to be fully tamed, therefore a balance must be found. This is the challenge facing Crystal (Procyon’s Animal Care Director) and her team. Fortunately, unless ravens are with a family group, they are generally a solitary bird, so Edgar won’t be missing his “unkindness”. He isn’t too concerned with having human company either it seems. According to Crystal, he is timid and quiet, albeit a little curious, when approached by adults, but interestingly, he responds vocally when he hears children. He has been heard making a few different vocalizations when he is alone as well. 

Crystal is taking it slow with Edgar so as not to stress him, but having no incentive to work for his food and having so many loving attendants, he is tending to over eat. Again, a balance must be found. He will be offered puzzle feeders to give him a challenge. And recently they have acquired cards which offer colour cues to teach him to recognize the purpose for which a particular person is entering his enclosure. This way, for instance, he won’t stress if he knows the person wearing green is there to feed him versus the person wearing white who is there to give him an examination (a stressor).

Hopefully he will soon become less anxious in close proximity to humans, so he can be more interactive and lead a fuller life. I will follow up on Edgar’s progress in future articles. Looking forward to hearing his first words. 

Two great events this past month at the Tottenham Community and Fitness Centre

On April 20th, Procyon Wildlife was invited to the Tottenham & Beeton District Chamber of Commence to attend the Home & Artisan Show at our community centre. Thank you so much to the Chamber of Commerce for your hospitality. Members of the public learned about the important role Procyon plays in the community and surrounding areas to help wildlife in need. We look forward to attending next year too!

The following week, on April 27th, Procyon Wildlife returned to the Tottenham Community and Fitness Centre to participate in Earthfest, which was put on by the Town of New Tecumseth and the Town’s Environmental Advisory Committee. It was refreshing to talk with people of all ages about the importance of protecting this wonderful home, we call Earth. Thank you to the organizers of this event which raised awareness about our natural environment – its waterways, its land and its wildlife.

Who’s Your Daddy?

Article by Elizabeth Trickey, images by Jen Howard

Read Time: Three Minutes

Spring has arrived, welcoming many infant critters to the world.  As these tiny babies snuggle up to momma for warmth and feeding, they wonder where poppa is.  OK, maybe not.  But, where is he?  Who is he?

For most wildlife animals, the male has just one mission – keep the species abundant.  Yup, it’s “slam, bam, thank you ma’am”.  Poppa does his job then moves on, leaving the child-rearing to momma, with not even a crumb of child support.

With squirrels, a female in estrus might mate with several different males.  When the babies are born, usually about 3-5 of them, there could be more than one father represented in the litter.  Momma does all the work of caring for the young ones until they scoot off at about 3 months of age.

It’s pretty much the same for most of our Ontario mammals.  Bears, raccoons, chipmunks, skunks, porcupines, rabbits, moose, muskrat, otters – all of these species, and more, are born into one-parent families.  The sperm donor is long gone before the birth even happens.  These dead-beat dads wouldn’t even recognize their progeny despite living within the same habitat.

But not all wildlife fathers take off after the dirty deed has been done.  Some species mate for life, with both parents taking on child-rearing responsibilities.  Beaver families stay together for at least two years, with the poppa sharing in the feeding, teaching and protection of the kits.  These fathers have also been seen taking on sole responsibility for the children after the death of momma.

Fox and wolf families share a warm and caring environment with their children.  While momma stays in the den with her kits, poppa is out hunting, bringing her food every four to six hours since she can’t leave her babies.  As the wee ones grow, he demonstrates excitement about fatherhood, enjoying the play time together.  And it’s the poppa who teaches the kits the survival skills of hunting and protecting themselves from predators.

Most male frogs are very involved in the welfare of their tadpoles.  The poison dart dads guard the eggs until they hatch, then carry them all on his back to a pond where they will live.  The male of another frog species will carry them in his mouth to keep them safe!

(more…)

National Volunteer Week 2024

This is the week we celebrate our volunteers! During National Volunteer Week 2024, we come together to recognize and celebrate the importance of each and every volunteer’s impact from coast to coast.

Now more than ever, your help is needed! The more volunteers we have, the more orphaned and injured wildlife we can save! To learn more about volunteering with Procyon visit: https://www.procyonwildlife.com/interested-in-volunteering-with-us/

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