North East Wildlife Animal Rehabilitation Coalition is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. We are a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and these are the tales of the injured and orphaned animals we care for until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not good news for raccoons.

It has been a crazy week to say the least. More bad news than good unfortunately.

Sometime about last Wednesday, video showed a neurologic coon at the den site.
This is one of the clips...and though you may find it disturbing to watch (as I do), I think it would be educational for some people out there. I have seen videos on youtube where someone films a "poor raccoon" that they bring in to "help" because they think it is just hungry and cold and scared, when in fact it is neurologic, possibly suffering from head trauma, distemper or rabies!!! Though their intentions are good, they feed it, take some pics, then release it back into the wild to infect and kill more raccoons......

So I began periodic searches through the woods and area looking for the poor thing. (and hoping the one harassing it didn't get anything from it!) On Thursday I notice a coonie cradled up high(75+ feet) in a pine tree near one of the feeding stations. Don't ask me how I noticed that!! I got no reaction from it when I called and no movement. I spend most of Thursday and Friday looking for our neuro friend and keeping an eye on our tree friend....mulling over rescue options.
Saturday morning I check on tree coon before we all head out to the WRAM conference at Tuft's for the day. Still there, still unmoved. After the conference, Laurie and I head into the woods to check the den site, set up the coon cam and debate tree coon's options. Then we head to the downtown pen to feed the gang, when Laurie notices a coon hanging out near by.

He doesn't look good, definitely a face wound and a little wobbly.

So we decide to catch him! I cannot possibly begin to detail for you the extremely humorous account of us trying to catch him.....chasing him through swamp, brambles, brush and the dark....with already frozen feet, to finally corner him. Then a net that didn't catch him "just right", pinning the coonie while looking for the carrier somewhere in the brush....seeing the light in Laurie's hands bounce all over the place in the distance as she runs through bushes trying to find where the hell we left the carrier...hearing the "uugghhh" then "splat" as the little bouncing light disappears....then she re-appears at my side, covered in muck and bootless.... and finally tossing him in the carrier! We were laughing so hard we were crying!! Suffice it to say that despite the gravity of the situation now, I am giggling my ass off again as I think about it!! (I was picking branches out of my hair the next morning still!)

We get him comfortable and set up inside for the night (he's not one of my releases, thank god!) and bring him in to Laurie's vet the next morning to sedate him and ascertain his situation. Suffice it to say the wounds were not good and we decided to euthanize him and send him in for rabies testing. We literally drove it to the lab in Boston ourselves that day. (It ended up he was our tree coonie).

The results are back and he was positive for Rabies!! He is not the one that was on the video, so I know of at least one more out there that is ill, and now I am sick with worry & beyond words about the rest of my gang out there!! All I can do is keep an eye out and hope for the best for them all.....and wish like hell it wasn't mating season...making them more active and likely to come into contact and bite each other! I can only pray that the rabies vaccines they got have done some won't help their kids, but just maybe it will keep my releases safe.

And the good news? Well at least I got a good video of Dandy....looking and acting great so the feeding station......

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