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Relocating raccoons could separate mothers from babies, Toronto Wildlife Centre says

Last Updated Mar 18, 2021 at 1:52 am EDT

A baby raccoon was saved after a Toronto man allegedly try to drown it in a cage. June 7, 2017. TORONTO WILDLIFE CENTRE/Handout

Toronto is seeing more residents — baby raccoons are being born.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre is asking you not to illegally relocate raccoons if you believe the wild animals are being a pest because you risk separating the babies from their mothers.

Executive Director Nathalie Karvonen says, even though in Ontario you’re allowed to trap and relocate raccoons up to one kilometer from their point of origin, it’s well known the animals will not survive outside of their home territory.

Karvonen says one study shows 70 per cent of the raccoons moved died within three months.

“It’s not good for the adult raccoon clearly, but it’s also absolutely terrible for the babies,” she says, “if you have babies that are just a couple days old, their eyes aren’t open, they’re completely nursing from their mother, and then now you take their mother away, and drive her one kilometer away, and dump her somewhere — those babies will not survive without her.”

She says you’ll have to be on high alert for the next two to three months.

If you need the animals to move, Karvonen says mother raccoons will have some alternate den sites in mind, “anything that can make that mother feel unsafe will often just get her to pick up her babies and move them somewhere else… depending on the individual animal, that might be something as simple as putting lights on in the attic or the shed, or it might be adding a loud radio.”

RELATED: Toronto warning residents to avoid close contact with raccoons

Or, if you want to hire a company to help you with the wild animals, she says to do your research.

“A responsible company, and there’s very few of those, will ensure that the babies are reunited with their mother if they do take the babies out of something like an attic or a shed, so that requires that they’re set up properly in a safe place, and they also have to be set up with a heat source,” she says that’s because nighttime temperatures are still dropping this time of year, “if you’re that little baby with its eyes closed, you don’t have any fur yet, and then now you’re just put outside on the lawn and left there all night, you’re going to potentially die of hypothermia.”

Karvonen says you can go to the Toronto Wildlife Centre’s website to learn how to choose a responsible company to help you, and for more information about wildlife.

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