It seems 2014 will once again be a summer of raccoons in Southern Ontario.
Every few years the debate as to what to do with the “raccoon problem” in the country’s largest city comes up. And every few years, the City of Toronto does nothing, and the “problem” goes away on its own. The simple notion of life cycles fails to present for municipal councillors, at times.
We saw the same thing happen in Windsor, Ontario: residents saw a lot of skunks, they got upset, Councillors (who want to be re-elected) got upset and ordered the killing of skunks. That program fell flat on its face and the population naturally wound down.
Toronto needs to focus on three things while the population is in a peak (and juvenile raccoons are exploring their new habitats):
- Educate. When people understand what’s going on with wildlife in their backyards, they tend to be less worried. Education of raccoons as wild animals that are essential to a healthy ecosystem, the ramifications of feeding and leaving out food (see below) and simple techniques to wildlife proof homes will go a long way.
- Enforce. By-laws requiring people to keep their yards clear and not feed wildlife need be to enforced. When food is left out – intentionally or unintentionally – it invites ALL kinds of wildlife, be it the cute chipmunks one homeowner wants to see or the rat another fears.
- Be louder than Rob Ford. While the notorious Mayor of Toronto is making his typical, mindless rants about killing raccoons if they attack children, Toronto’s city staff and ancillary services (like the Humane Society) need to speak up even more than before to get the right messages out to the media and the public.
Homeowners concerned about wildlife in their houses should contact a reputable and truly humane wildlife removal company like Gates’ AAA Wildlife Control.
You may have inferred from this blogs’ headline that we were going to discuss the new hit movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, which features a talking raccoon (Rocket Raccoon). You are right – the movie is awesome.
If anything is taken away from that film by children, we hope it’s an interest in local wildlife (and the desire to defend the universe from evil doers).