Spring seems to have come early to Muskoka and Parry Sound area. Most of the snow has gone; the temperature is generally above average – and this means that very soon we can expect to receive calls regarding orphaned wildlife.
The ‘soft’ release of Bandit the raccoon.
Pat and Doug Brodie, from Beamsville, Ontario, returned to Aspen Valley recently to take Bandit home for release into the wild.
Meanwhile, the frogs are out of their winter rest period and thus a good source of protein for young raccoons that have over-wintered with us.
They arrived too late in the season to be successfully released last fall and have enjoyed a comfortable time, mostly sleeping in their hammocks in the cage near our barn. This past week three of them were taken back to a release site close to where they were found. That left one special guy – Bandit.
Last October we received an email from Pat and Doug Brodie, from Beamsville, Ontario saying that they had been raising an orphaned raccoon, and had not been able to find a rehabilitator with space available to take the little guy, dubbed “Bandit” because of his black mask.
They were preparing to release him in October, but first arranged for him to be vaccinated for distemper, rabies and Parvovirus. Unfortunately, Bandit suffered a bad reaction, indicated by swollen red and bleeding paws.
Coupled with this setback, Pat and Doug learned that a trapper had been hired to remove 50-plus raccoons from the camp where they had planned to release Bandit. If they had released him at that time, he would have been alone and isolated over the winter.
They contacted us to see if we might have a facility where we could take care of him without too much human interaction to integrate him and ensure he is wild and able to survive on his own upon release, and Bandit came to be with us for the past five months.
Recently we contacted the Brodies to advise them that Bandit was ready to be released. They excitedly drove up to Aspen Valley last Sunday, bringing along a lovely basket of goodies for Bandit’s human caregivers (greatly appreciated). They have also been very generous in bringing us baskets of pears and apples to feed to the animals.
Bandit was put into his carry crate for the journey home.
The Brodies are Scout leaders and plan to give Bandit a “soft” release. This involves releasing the raccoon and leaving some food available for the first couple of days until he can adjust to his surroundings and find food on his own.
They have chosen a safe spot for him in a park, and by now he is living free, as he should be and as the Brodies had always wanted for him. Thank you, Pat and Doug, for your caring and generous nature.
(These weekly articles are contributed by staff at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with a mandate to educate the public towards a better understanding of local fauna.)