A wildlife conservation group is warning that raccoons are on the rise in the East Kootenay, with increased sightings in the Cranbrook and Kimberley area.
WildSafeBC says that an abundant food source around city limits is habituating the critters, which makes them bolder around humans and a potential cause for conflict.
Raccoons are omnivores and will get into a wide variety of food sources such as gardens, crops, livestock, garbage, and even aquatic animals in small ponds or streams.
“Since raccoons can cause significant damage to buildings and gardens, etc., in their search for food, it is best to ensure they do not become comfortable in your yard,” reads a release from WildSafeBC. “Therefore, garbage should be stored indoors until the day of collection, feed pets indoors (or take in any feed that is not eaten if fed outdoors), take bird feeders down until winter and, keep BBQ grills and grease traps clean.”
Do not approach a raccoon; like all wildlife, it can act aggressively if cornered or threatened, says WildsafeBC. If approached by one, the best thing to do is to scare it away by yelling or clapping.
WildsafeBC advises contacting the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report any raccoons acting aggressively.