Saskatoon woman fighting to save rescued raven from date with death

A Saskatoon woman is trying to save an injured raven she nursed back to health from getting euthanized under government rules.

Evangeline MacKinnon has until Dec. 15 to turn over Mortimer the raven for euthanization

Evangeline MacKinnon says there's no good reason for Mortimer the raven to die. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

The clock is ticking for Mortimer the raven.

Evangeline MacKinnon rescued the injured bird last month after finding it huddled with a broken wing under a tree on Wilson Crescent in Saskatoon. She and her partner, Devin Holdner, carried the young bird home and adopted it into their menagerie of pets that include a budgie, cats and snakes.

"Leaving him there [by the road] I would have given him a death sentence," she said in an interview.

"Bringing him home, I at least give him a chance."

MacKinnon has since learned that she's run afoul of provincial law and is supposed to turn over the bird to a wildlife vet to be euthanized.

She said that someone reported her to Saskatchewan Environment. On Tuesday, two officers came by her house.

The rules are clear, according to conservation officer Kevin Harrison.

Under the province's Captive Wildlife Regulations, a person needs training and a license to work as an animal rehabilitator. Ravens are a species where this law applies, Harrison said.

Given where Mortimer's wing is broken it's unlikely the bird will ever fly again, so it's not a question of rehabilitation, Harrison said.

"Chances of surviving with a broken wing are not very good. Sometimes these animals must be put down, for their own good. They're not going to live the quality of life they're used to, not flying around, not having fun," he said.

"We can't have people collecting these animals and going out and trying to rehabilitate every little animal they find because people aren't trained to do it."

This doesn't sit well with MacKinnon.

She said the bird has adapted to their home, eating ham, frozen minnows and table scraps. It sleeps on a perch the couple rigged up in an old dog kennel.

MacKinnon said that she has until 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday to turn over the bird or face a potential fine of $2,000.​ 

She said it's unfair that a bird that she wants to keep and nurture will be killed because of a government regulation. She wants the rules changed.

"They need to understand there's grey areas," she said.

"What I hope that I can get from this is a raven sanctuary. I want to try and start a place where injured ravens can be brought and I can save them and rehabilitate them and give them a place to live out their years."

About the Author

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.


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