British Columbia·Photos

Vancouver raccoons recovering after paws caught in leg-hold traps

One raccoon may lose its paw after being caught in a leg-hold trap in Vancouver; another has lost some teeth after trying to chew a trap off.

Advocacy group offering $1K reward for information leading to convictions

This female raccoon was rescued on Monday night. The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. says she managed to wiggle her paws out of the trap, but will most likely lose some toes. (Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.)

An animal advocacy group in Vancouver is searching for the individuals responsible for setting up leg-hold traps that gripped the paws of two raccoons. 

"It leaves a sickening feeling in your stomach," said Adrian Nelson with the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

The female raccoon has wounds across her front paw. The Critter Care Wildlife Society says she will lose at least one or two toes. (Critter Care Wildlife Society)

The raccoons were found in Vancouver on Monday night by the B.C. SPCA and the Wildlife Rescue Association. One was found on West 47th Avenue and the other at Burrard near Broadway. 

"What is most disturbing, [more] than anything else, is exactly where these animals were found," said Nelson.

"How close it is to where we let our cats out at night, or where our children play," he said. 

The group is putting up a $1,000 reward for any tips that lead to the conviction of the individuals who set up these traps; they could be charged under the Wildlife Act.

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The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals says these traps, which were found on one of the raccoons, are outdated, and the group believes the use of them in this manner is illegal. (Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.)

Leg-hold traps are legal, but Nelson said these traps are outdated, and he believes their use in this manner is illegal. He said modern, legal traps have a bit of a gap or padding. 

Female raccoon may lose toes, male lost teeth

The Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley is taking care of the raccoons over the next few months. 

The young female raccoon managed to escape serious injury, but may still lose a few toes. 

The older, male raccoon was found with bloodied paws and had to undergo surgery to sew up the wound.

"The whole foot can rot off because of the dead tissue," said Angela Fontana, senior animal care supervisor with Critter Care. 

Rescuers believe the male raccoon lost a few teeth after he tried to chew at the metal traps to free his paws. (Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.)

She said the male raccoon was also missing some of his teeth because he had chewed at the metal trap to try and take it off.

"It's quite disheartening ... definitely over the past few years I've seen a huge increase in the number of animals we get in with leg-hold traps," said Fontana. 

Nelson said he understands that conflicts with wildlife can be frustrating for homeowners, but that there are better ways to co-exist with the animals.

Surgery was performed on the older male raccoon to sew up a large wound on his back right paw. (Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.)

"They're very much part of our urban landscape. Killing and removing a couple of them isn't going to resolve their issues," said Nelson. 

He said there are several humane animal control outfits around the city, and the association has tips on living with wildlife on its web site.