A new resident is making itself at home in the Elk Valley, with reports of raccoons appearing in Fernie and Sparwood.
“We haven’t had many reports, but it seems that they are making their way to East Kootenay communities,” said Local WildSafeBC community coordinator, Kathy Murray.
“I’ve had a few reports of them out at the airport – Mountainview division in Fernie, and now in Sparwood. I know that Kimberley has also had lots of reports of raccoons.”
The masked bandits are not a common sight in this little slice of British Columbia, being more visible in the more temperate and warmer parts of the province, but Murray said they’d go where the food was.
“Raccoons can cause significant damage to buildings, gardens, because they’re looking for food,” said Murray. “The message is the same (as the message) with bears – it’s about managing attractants, (and) not providing easy food sources for them.”
Murray said she wasn’t sure where the raccoons were coming from, but they’re here now. “They are opportunistic feeders, so if there are food sources available, they’re going to get to them.”
Raccoons live on a varied diet (as in: will eat anything) and their adaptability means they can thrive in the densest of urban centres according to WildSafeBC.
Raccoons prefer forested areas near water – so the Elk Valley may be well suited for them. The typically sleep away harsh winter months, but WildSafeBC says this isn’t a ‘true hibernation’ but a response to food scarcity.
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