Mona on the move: Raccoon in care of Thunder Bay dog rescue group heading to wildlife centre
Raccoon kit like a 'puppy with hands' so must fly to Sudbury in modified cage: expected to leave by Wednesday
Mona, the three-month-old raccoon kit who has stolen the heart of the director of a dog rescue organization in Thunder Bay, Ont., will soon head south to a new home in a wildlife rehabilitation facility near Sudbury.
Caring for Mona is like caring for "a puppy with hands," says Rebecca Estey of Thunder Dog Rescue, explaining this is the first time she's ever had to tend to the needs of a baby raccoon.
"They're little thieves, they steal whatever they want to steal and then they run really fast with it," said Estey, noting that raccoon kits are much more coordinated than their canine counterparts.
"Puppies ... trip over their own feet. Raccoons don't do that. They figure that out from a pretty early age, " she laughed.
Because Mona "likes to feel her environment and so she always has her little hands sticking out," at the request of transportation officials she will fly south in a modified dog crate, said Estey.
She has punched airholes into a plexiglass panel that will go over the cage door to prevent Mona from sticking her arm out, and either playing with nearby bags and boxes, or getting the limb crushed if the cargo shifted.
'Godzilla in the crate'
"My concern is them putting in baggage beside her and maybe breaking her little arm but their concern is, I think they think they've got Godzilla in the crate."
Estey said she phoned people across northwestern Ontario who traditionally look after wild animals and birds to see if they could take Mona, but she said none of them were licensed to care for a raccoon.
If airport and airline officials approve the modified cage, Mona should be on her way to Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre in Lively, Ontario by Wednesday.
"Basically she'll go in an enclosure with some other raccoons and learn to be a racoon again," said Estey.