Dead porcupine found in western Newfoundland

A very dead porcupine — an animal not native to Newfoundland — has been found on the Island's west coast.
A dead porcupine was found near a road in western Newfoundland. (Courtesy Eric Leukert)

A very dead porcupine — an animal not native to Newfoundland — has been found on the Island's west coast.

A wildlife official said the animal was found by the side of a road in the Codroy Valley area.

"It's in very rough shape. It's very flat. It looks like it was run over at some point. It's pretty mangled. We're not even sure if it was male or female," said Shelley Moores.

Moores, a senior manager with the wildlife division of the province's department of environment and conservation, said wildlife officials believe it's the first sighting of a porcupine on the island of Newfoundland. However, it's not clear if the animal was ever actually alive when arrived on the island.

Porcupines are native to other parts of Atlantic Canada and Labrador. Other animals that are not native to Newfoundland, such as raccoons, are believed to have hitched a ride to the island on trucks coming by ferry to western Newfoundland.

But hitched a ride may not be the right way of describing how the animal's body arrived there. It's possible the porcupine's carcass was stuck to a vehicle that travelled from another part of the country, according to Moores.

"It was on the side of the road for at least a day, but it looks to us that it has been dead longer. It's starting to decompose. There's a good chance that it was dead when it got here," she said.

The porcupine was found by Eric Leukert who saw the carcass by the side of the road, took photgraphs, and called wildlife officials.

It's unknown what impact the species might have on the environment if it flourished in Newfoundland. Despite that, Moores said wildlife officials discourage anyone from introducing non-native species to the province.

Moores said wildlife officials would like to hear from anyone who believes they have any information about the hapless porcupine. In the meantime, they are doing what they can with the information they have.

"The only thing we can measure is the size of a paw and we are still looking into the literature  to see if we can determine anything from that," said Moores.