Toronto, October 17, 2011: The Ontario Wildlife Coalition is demanding that the Minister of Natural Resources turn the two healthy baby raccoons it seized from an Ottawa sanctuary over to an authorized wildlife rehabilitation facility for care.

“These two young raccoons should not have to pay with their lives for the message that MNR officers are using to discourage the public from helping wildlife” said Liz White, spokesperson for the Coalition.  “Compassionate people simply will not take the Ministry’s advice ‘to leave the animal and let nature take its course’ when they find a helpless baby animal at the side of the road.

“Based on the controversial outcomes for wildlife seized by the MNR in the past in Ontario, there is  legitimate cause for concern that these healthy young raccoons will be euthanized or placed in the Codrington rabies research facility”, said Donna DuBreuil, a member of the coalition. “This cannot be allowed to happen”, said DuBreuil.

The coalition has repeatedly stated that the dire lack of help for orphaned and injured wildlife in Ontario is entirely of the Ministry of Natural Resources making, leaving caring members of the public in the desperate situation of having to care for wildlife themselves or finding someone else to do so. There are less than half the number of wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario than existed previously given impossible and unfair regulations and the bullying and harassment of MNR staff.

The high-handed raid in Ottawa has earned the MNR the strong criticism of the media and the public.

It comes just a few weeks after an election promise by Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberal Party to remove the barriers that MNR staff has intentionally established to prevent humane wildlife rehabilitation in the province.

The Liberal Party states “we will enhance programs that encourage wildlife rehabilitators to seek authorization in Ontario, and promote wildlife rehabilitation as a valuable voluntary resource in the province”.

“Based on this promise, we expect the Minister to immediately intercede on behalf of these two young raccoons to ensure their survival and ultimate release back to the wild,” said DuBreuil.

For more information

Liz White                                                                             Donna DuBreuil
Ontario Wildlife Coalition                                                       Ontario Wildlife Coalition                  
(416) 462-9541                                                                     (613) 726-8178

View PDF