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Kelowna raccoon injured by misused trap sparks discussion

The raccoon is still believed to be alive but is now missing its front limb
Raccoon spotted with an egg trap stuck to its leg. (Contributed)

Animal welfare experts are speaking out and asking the public to think twice before setting traps on their property after an injured raccoon was spotted with a snare stuck to its leg on May 2.

Sydney Shepherd, executive director of the Wild Things Rehabilitation Society, said the animal rescue organization was contacted after a resident in Kelowna’s Mission neighbourhood spotted a raccoon whose front leg was stuck in an unsecured trap.

In an effort to catch and help the critter, Wild Things and B.C. Conservation Officers set up live traps nearby.

Ken Owens, a Conservation Officer in Kelowna said that based on the photos and video of the injured raccoon, it looks like it was ensnared in an ‘egg trap’ which is designed to capture raccoon by front paw.

“Egg traps when used and not securely fastened by property owners create this situation,” said Owens.


Kelowna residents and local conservation officers are speaking out and urging people to contact professionals to manage animal control after a raccoon was spotted with a small animal trap clamped onto its leg in early May.

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“Each year we receive several calls to our RAPP line related to injured raccoons running around town with egg traps, attached to their paws.”

Unfortunately, the attempts to catch and free this raccoon were unsuccessful and sightings over the following two weeks revealed the animals still to be ensnared, said Shepherd.

After disappearing for several days, the raccoon reappeared with its entire lower front limb and hand missing.

“The suffering endured by this young raccoon deeply saddens us,” said Shepherd.

Raccoon spotted with an egg trap stuck to its leg. (Contributed)

Shepard added that urban environments present unique challenges for wildlife and said that is important to necessitate “humane solutions for peaceful coexistence.”

Owens explained that while trapping and relocating raccoons without a permit is technically allowed if the critters are causing damage to a person’s property, it can be challenging to trap animals in a safe and humane manner.

With support from the B.C. Trappers Association, the B.C. Conservation Service has requested law changes in regard to trapping wildlife and are specifically calling for a ban on egg traps and snares in favour of live traps.

Owens said the Trappers Association is also lobbying for mandatory education for anyone wanting to trap certain wildlife, that fall under Schedule B or C, in an urban setting “to avoid situations like this.”

Owens requested that the public contact professional animal control companies if dealing with a persistent raccoon problem, rather than attempting the critter on their own. There are also specific rules and regulations regarding the relocation of raccoons if they have babies, which are called kits. He also noted that it is illegal to use poison to kill raccoons.

Raccoons are protected under the BC Wildlife Act. To learn more, visit

“We hope this incident sparks greater awareness and dialogue about safer approaches to wildlife management in our community,” said Shepherd.

To report an injured animal or human-wildlife conflict call the conservation service at 1-877-952-7277, or email the Interior Wildlife Rescue organization in the Central Okanagan at

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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