It's funny how my blog prior to this was about all the wonderful sightings I have had of Raccoons in the last little while. Everybody knows I love them masked creatures much like all the masked birds around us. Even Robert Bateman obviously has some love for them as well, here's one of his paintings of this Procyon species.
But on Sunday morning I was once again reminded that not everyone shares the same love for Raccoons and nature in general.
We were at Col. Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke at the foot of Kipling Avenue south of Lakeshore Blvd. We've been frequenting the park a fair bit over our holidays in search of migrating Warbler species (birds). Many of the birds stop at Col. Sam since it is the first piece of land they hit after crossing Lake Ontario. They will feed and rest at the park for a short bit before continuing their journey to wherever their nestings grounds may be.
Angie happened to notice a young Raccoon hanging upside down in some Dogwood shrub near the west marina. It was a very upsetting sight, seeing this furry little body tangled up deep within the bush. We wondered how it got there and ended up in such a position. I ruled it out as perhaps he got lost, or was ill from the get-go, and just not meant for this world. Things like that happen in the wild.
We spent another 30 minutes or so wandering the park before heading back to the truck. Heading up the main path now towards the parking lot, and suddenly I take notice to a mowed area of grass, which happened to be on the backside to that certain Dogwood shrub. From a distance it looked like two piles of dried grass raked up. But after witnessing what we did so close to this area, my heart sank and I quickly realized these were two more Raccoons laying dead in the morning sun. Two brothers perhaps, nearly side by side, traveling Earth together, and now the beyond, still side by side.
I called the City of Toronto Animal Control. I didn't know what else to do. I had to report this. And the guy said it's not unusual they get calls of dead Raccoons due to poisonings by people in the city. He asked for a more specific location, which isn't that easy to give in a large park along the lake. I offered to move the little bodies near a land mark, which would also allow them to not be seen by most passersby, behind a fire hydrant. The "two brothers" were easy, since they were out in the open. The first one was the hardest for me emotionally. He was no more than a foot in length, still warm and soft. I went back to the truck before doing this and pulled out some work gloves. I could feel the "dead weight" of him as his limp body just sunk over my hands when I lifted him from the grass. After laying him down behind the hydrant, I turned off all my emotions, and quickly moved his brother right along side of him. The third, the one in the bush, was the most difficult physically. He was deep in the bush, in the thick tangles of the branches. I tried from one end, where we first saw him, but it seemed too difficult. So I went back to the other side, where his brothers were, and more out of the public eye, with another attempt. But it was even worse. So back around to the front I went, just rushing in, breaking branches to get to him and finally I did. It was a long walk back around to where his brothers were behind the hydrant. How could I not look at this creature in my hands. I felt terrible for him and the others. Trying to imagine what happened, and then trying to shut it out.
I have heard enough argument about what a nuisance these creatures are. But who has the right to kill them by whatever means they choose or have the ability and access to? How can someone call themselves human if they can do such an inhumane act? To me, it appeared the little bodies were disposed of down in the park. I cannot see all three of them dying in such a close vicinity of each other (20 - 30 ft). The one in the bush was obviously tossed. Which makes the whole story in my head even more f**ked up.
It was awful what these young creatures endured, barely alive a few months, and to have it cut short. But it could have turned into something even worse if a Fox or Coyote found them and decided to make a quick meal of them. Heck, what if it were someone's dog? Col. Sam has an off leash dog area far from this spot; but most people don't follow the bylaws.
Seriously, look at this face of one of a few babies I saw last Spring. How could anyone bring such harm to them? Monitor your house once in a while, ensuring the roof is still in good shape and other possible points of entry are not possible. Don't put out your green bins until the day of trash pick-up. Place something heavy on the lid in the days prior to pick up (I use an old car battery). Don't grow grapes if you don't want to share them. What else is there?
I believe in karma. Be a good person and good will return to you, even in the smallest signs; you just have to see them. And well, being bad... you know where I am going with this. I don't wish harm on anyone out there but won't object to such people having 20 years of bad luck or something.
I don't re-live this occurrence in my head. I don't spend my waking moments thinking about it. This blog is just a bit of venting and therapy. I think I did the right thing even though others would rather have had me toss them into the garbage. And it just strengthens my will to do better for the animals we share the planet with.
Here are a couple of my other Raccoon blogs. Thanks for viewing. Happy stories coming soon...
Me and My Masked Friends
More of my Masked Friends