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June 2007 - Nr. 6


The Editor
Zum Vatertag
Dan's Satire
European Community Events
Harper in Berlin
Open Letter by GIT
KW & Beyond
Celebrating the Big 40
Annual Chef Festival
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Conservationist of the Year
Art History - June
Stratford Summer Music
M-RT Hall
Balanchine's Don Quixote
Xing Presents INK
Met Pays Tribute
Indian Art at AGO
Aboriginal Art at AGO
Bernini in Focus
New Citizens Through Art
Gladstone World Music Series
Canada Council Arts Challenge
To Be A Famous Writer
5 Star Experience
Regreening of Canada
Sick, Injured Wild Animal
Astronaut Thomas Reiter
Tax Freedom Day Earlier
VW: Every Model a Hybrid


 Wildlife belongs in the wild. Occasionally, people will find juvenile wildlife that appears to be orphaned, sick or injured. The public should avoid handling wildlife to prevent bites and scratches. Some species can carry diseases and parasites that are harmful to humans. Injured wildlife also requires specialized and immediate care to recover and return to the wild. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, a person may only keep wildlife for 24 hours to transport it to a wildlife custodian for care or medical attention or to relocate it following capture as a problem animal.

Juvenile wild animals do not make good pets because they become difficult to handle as they grow. Once used to humans, released animals are not likely to survive in the wild because they do not have the necessary skills to stay alive. They may also be attracted to people, leading to their eventual death. Wild animals can also be attracted to properties that provide shelter and/or food, resulting in conflict and property damage.

Orphaned Wildlife

Just because a young animal is alone does not mean it is orphaned. It is normal for some species to leave their offspring temporarily alone, especially during the day. For example, deer and cottontail rabbits spend much of the day away from their well-camouflaged offspring to minimize the chance of predators finding them.

An exception would be the Virginia opossum, which spend the first three months of life in the female’s pouch. If you find a juvenile opossum alone, it is safe to assume that it is in need of help.

To determine if young wildlife is truly orphaned:

  • Check the animal periodically for 24 to 48 hours to see if it is still around, but keep your distance.

  • Keep cats and dogs away from the area where the young animal is; the adult will not return if it is noisy or if predators or people are close by.

Signs of orphaning, injury or illness may include:

  •  Blood, wounds or swelling on the body

  •  Lethargy or coldness to the touch

  •  Body covered in fleas

  •  Unusual or uneven loss of fur or feathers

  •  Vocalizing and/or following humans around

  •  A fawn that is wandering around

  •  Contact with a domestic cat

  •  Difficult or raspy breathing or sneezing

  •  A dangling leg or wing

  •  Closed eyes

  •  Head tucked under wing

The best approach is always to leave a juvenile wild animal alone unless you are certain it has been abandoned or it is injured.

If you find an injured, sick or orphaned wild animal, contact a wildlife custodian who can provide the specialized and immediate care necessary to help the animal. If you must handle it, seek the advice of a wildlife custodian to minimize risk of injury to yourself and to the animal. Wear protective clothing and equipment, such as leather gloves, to avoid bites or scratches, and wash hands well after handling the animal.

Contact information:

  • Ontario Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Network (OWREN):

visit, contact or call 905-735-9556

  • Local Humane Society or local branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

visit , call 1-888-668-7722 or the Ontario SPCA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at 705-534-4350.

Diseased or Dead Wildlife

If you suspect there is a public health risk from a sick wild animal, such as rabies, or you or your pet had contact with a suspected rabid animal, contact your local Public Health Unit immediately. Rabies is fatal for humans and animals if not treated. Symptoms of rabies and several other diseases in animals can include tremors, aggressive behaviour, partial paralysis, convulsions, and loss of fear of humans.

To report a dead crow, raven or blue-jay bird contact your local Public Health Unit. To report other dead animals or birds contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC).

Contact Information:

  •  Public Health Units:

call 1-866-532-3161 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, or visit  for a list of offices.

  •  Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre:

call 1-866-673-4781, or visit


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