For heaven’s sake; don’t relocate.
That’s the word from Peggy Jenkins, owner of Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue in Oil Springs. She’s has noticed a growing problem in recent years: adult animals are being trapped and relocated, separating mothers from their babies. Homeowners quick to dispatch of uninvited animal guests often discover left-behind babies days later, when the newborns are literally starving to death.
“They’re skin and bones, emaciated, dehydrated, dirt in their mouths, in their noses, because they are rooting in the dirt,” says Jenkins.
With spring in the air, new life is popping up everywhere—including unexpected and undesirable places, such as attics, garages, and sheds. Birthing will continue throughout the summer but Jenkins isn’t suggesting you allow your property to become a nursery for local wildlife. She suggests a number of simple ways to make your home unappealing to animals.
Jenkins says if a mother and her offspring are living inside or underneath your home, you can use sight, sound, and smell to encourage the mother to relocate on her own. Put up lights and play loud music in the area, she says. You can also stink them out by putting rags that have been soaked in ammonia into plastic containers with holes poked in the lids and placing these containers around the space.
It may take two or three days for the mother to move her entire litter, but she will. Jenkins says that’s ideal because the animal knows the area and will have other den sites close by.
Once you’re certain your space is animal-free, she says be sure to check for entry points and seal them to prevent future problems.
You may be tempted just to remove and relocate mother and babies together, but the end result is just as inhumane as separating mother from babies, says Jenkins. “Those babies are going to die,” she says adding the mother will be too busy fighting for territory in an unknown area to take care of her young.
Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, it is illegal to move an adult animal more than one kilometre from where it was found.
Jenkins says the “needless intakes” created by separating healthy mothers from their offspring is causing financial problems for Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue. The centre relies solely on donations and volunteer time to maintain its operations and provide the special formula and vaccines each species needs.
Jenkins hopes their fourth annual walk-a-thon and bazaar Sunday at the Wawanosh Wetlands will raise enough to help deal with the baby boom at the wildlife rescue.
by Cara Vosburg