A raccoon kit euthanized at the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) last week is a stark reminder of the harm traps can cause wildlife.
After the kit’s paw was snagged in a rodent trap, it dragged the contraption around for a week while trailing its mother. By the time it was brought into Wild ARC, the cub had broken bones, severed nerves and a bad infection. Unable to rehabilitate it back to the wild, the kit was humanely euthanized.
“There was the potential for disease and he was in severe pain,” says Tara Thom, Wild ARC assistant manager. “It was in his best interest, he would not have survived.”
Snap traps set out for rats and mice are frequent causes of premature wildlife deaths. It’s common for Wild ARC to take in trapped birds, squirrels and other small animals who have found themselves in the grip of a rat trap. Sometimes those animals are rehabilitated, but often they are euthanized – as per Wild ARC’s policy when an animal cannot be successfully released back into the wild.
Thom says if people are going to set traps, there are steps they can take to decrease the chance of harming wild animals, such as placing the trap in an area that is not easily accessible and putting it inside an appropriately sized and secure bait box.
“This can also assist in the prevention of children, pets and wildlife getting caught in them,” Thom says. She adds that securing waste can reduce the likelihood that wildlife will be attracted to any traps on your property.
Thom also warns against using glue traps, which immobilize captors and leave them to slowly dehydrate and starve. The traps also can, and often do, have devastating effects on the birds and small critters that wind up stuck to them.
Wild ARC instead emphasizes finding pest control companies that have AnimalKind accreditation, meaning they follow a strict set of standards and use the most humane methods possible.
“We need to take these preventative measures so that we’re able to co-exist properly with wildlife.”
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