On Saturday April 5th I participated in the release of 4 young Raccoons. From what I know of them, they were born very late last season and orphaned. And the kind people of Hobbitstee were once again willing to help. I photo'd their release of 5 young Red Fox last year, see video here.
At a meeting with Hobbitstee last fall about a fundraiser, see blog here, we learned about the Raccoon young'uns, and Angie and I offered to "sponsor" them through their over-wintering. A small monthly donation I suppose, but adequate enough to help look after them. If we could afford more, we certainly would, for them and so many other wildlife creatures in need of help throughout the many places we are in contact with.
We never met the Raccoons, the animals are stressed enough as it is, no need for people peeking in on them, and the little human interaction keeps them wild. I agree with that completely due to the evil people in the world who have a hate on for Raccoons. I've seen enough terrible things here in the west end of Toronto the last few years and know of even worse stories about Ontario. They are living creatures and sorry to say, they bleed and feel very much like we do. Live and let live. Anyways, enough about that.
Really there isn't much else to say about these creatures except that we wish them the best of luck as they get a second chance at life in the wild.
I was given the opportunity to come see the release, asked to take photos to share with Hobbitstee, and of course my wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Unfortunately Angie was unable to attend. Here's a bunch of photos from beginning to end of their release.
You probably didn't need any commentary from me through the photos to figure out what was going on. And by the looks on their faces, you probably felt some emotions like I did. I was happy to see the little ones who aren't so little now go out and get a second shot at a life. But watching them, not everyone is as brave as the first to leave the carrier, and as it went down to the last one, you could sense his fear... and that made me sad. I'm sure they all had some fear to this new surrounding and uncertainty. But in the end, once they realize they are free, and in an area well away from traffic, with lots of big trees and a variety of foliage, landscape and water sources, that things will be pretty good in the end. I know they have a few things to learn as they tred the woods and fields, and I just have to have the best of hope for them.
Two of them ran off together after finding water nearby, having a quick drink and then gone. The other two also stuck together, climbing up the trees that were nearby the release. One went right to the top of a barren tree, scoping out the new home. And the other, was pulling bark from a cedar tree and picking at insects found underneath. That eased me some to see this.
And to my surprise, release time was not over as there was a Common Golden-eye ready to go home as well. The shores of Lake Ontario was only a few kilometres south of us, so away we went. I'm unsure what his story was, but they had over 165 water fowl come through the centre this past winter. Sadly so many did not survive as they were in really bad shape by the time they were found. So the ones that do make it, are all the more special, and a reminder to a rehabber on why they do this.
This Golden-eye was so cool and calm about his release. You could see how happy he was as he figured out he was going home. He got quite eager upon seeing the lake and the hundreds of water fowl out there in front of him. He put up no fight and as he went back into the water, he shook his tail feathers, slowly swam away like he owned the place, dipping and sipping the lake waters, and exploring as he swam away from us, never looking back.
I've not been to many releases in my life but have gotten quite familiar with them through others. So nice to see the wildlife return to the wild, happy and healthy. This Duck made that very clear. I should have video'd his cool calm behavior in the water. Oh well, perhaps another time with another Duck?
A few photos from his release. Good luck little guy!
I love this photo of him.
The next bunch of shots need no explanation...
Not all of us can spare the time to help, and sometimes just a small donation can make a difference. So many centres, so much can be done for them, even donating items on their wish lists. In the end, knowing you helped some of the wildlife you adore, is good for your soul and as I key this, know this will get me through a dark dreary Monday.