The presence, abundance and behaviours of wildlife in urban areas can lead to situations where cohabitation becomes problematic. Those animals are then considered troublesome. It would be tempting to want to move them away from our home into a natural habitat, which is often thought to be more welcoming to these animals.

© Marianne Gagnier

It is important to know that urban areas are full of food and shelter sources suitable for many wildlife species. Despite the scarcity of natural habitats in our cities, some species have been able to adapt and take advantage of their cohabitation with humans. For instance, populations of species like squirrels, skunks and raccoons are doing very well in the city!

Specialists also agree that animals should not be relocated even if we believe they would do better elsewhere and seem healthy. In addition to being often detrimental to the animal’s survival, each relocation of wildlife species represents a risk of introducing new diseases, new parasites or even invasive alien species. Relocation can have significant consequences for public health, farming and the conservation of wildlife species.

In some cases, wildlife is moved across long distances by truck, train or even boat. This type of animal relocation, called translocation, also represents a risk of introducing diseases and parasites into a territory.

Deterrents to better cohabit with troublesome animals

When you try to relocate wildlife from urban areas away from their capture sites, often another animal will take its place. Thus, the problem is not solved at the source. Your attempts to get rid of these animals only contribute to a vicious cycle.

You can take several simple steps This hyperlink will open in a new window. to keep troublesome animals away or make it easier to live with them. These animals are close to humans because they have what they need to survive and reproduce, which is food and shelter. Restricting access to these resources often resolves most of the inconveniences.

Relocating animals is prohibited

Some animals, such as raccoons and skunks, cannot be relocated more than 75 km away from their place of discovery and from the south shore to the north shore of the fleuve SaintLaurent (river). This also applies to transporting an orphaned, injured or sick animal to a rehabilitation centre. These measures are put in place to prevent the spread of diseases and parasites in areas that are free from them.

Beware of stowaways!

Translocation refers to the voluntary or involuntary transportation of a wild animal over longer distances than the natural movement of an animal. This is a genuine threat, and here are two concrete examples.

In December 2021, a raccoon was found in a trailer truck in Estrie that had left the state of North Carolina a few days earlier. It could have been a source of reintroduction of raccoon rabies in Québec. Fortunately, the raccoon was reported and recovered. He did not carry rabies, a contagious and deadly disease for all mammals, including humans.

An infected raccoon translocation led to the introduction of raccoon rabies in Hamilton, Ontario, in 2015. Since then, nearly 500 cases of rabies have been detected mainly in wildlife, with a few cases in domestic animals.

Do you work in transportation or goods receipt in other provinces or countries? Be vigilant. If you see a wild animal that appears to have been transported with your cargo, regardless of where you are in Québec, report this “stowaway” immediately to 18773466763.

Instructions for your health and safety

Never intervene with a wild animal, even if it looks harmless, as it may bite or injure you. Inform children of the importance of following this instruction.

Never touch an animal directly with bare hands.

If you have been bitten, scratched or have been in contact with the saliva of a wild or unknown animal, immediately clean the contact site with soap and water. Contact Info Santé 811 to assess the risk of transmission of rabies or other diseases.

If your pet comes in contact with a wild animal, check with a veterinarian to see if there are any risks of transmitting parasites or diseases such as rabies.

Last update: July 4, 2022