The province has cancelled a program to help Winnipeg homeowners battle raccoons.

For years, natural resources officers have made house calls to trap and remove the critters.

But Jack Harrigan of Manitoba Conservation said Wednesday the two officers assigned to the Winnipeg area are too busy responding to calls about deer, coyotes, and even bears.

"Faced with a lot of tasks or a lot of work, and really limited resources to deal with them, you have to choose the primary ones, or the most important ones," he said.

"We have limited resources to deal with the issue. We have a number of wildlife jobs that we have to take care of. And larger animals do pose a concern."

The province said last year it had 350 calls about raccoons, and so far this year there have been 35.

Officials said last year distemper was a big problem and may have reduced the numbers for the short term.

The province suggests Winnipeggers hire an exterminator to trap and remove raccoons at a cost of up to $150.

In Brandon, city animal control officers provide the service to homeowners for free.