Great Blue Heron and raccoons shot on Gabriola
More animals, including a Great Blue Heron, have been found apparently shot on Gabriola.
October 5, Donna Thorvaldson with the Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society was called to an address on Dirksen Road where the owner had found a Great Blue Heron unable to move itself.
Normally GROWLS has multiple volunteers involved in capturing injured herons, as they are powerful birds capable of seriously injuring a human.
Donna said in this case, when she and another volunteer when to pick up the heron, “he was like a rag doll. He had no strength, he was just skin and bones and gave up at that stage. I was able to crawl out with him and he didn’t move which is unheard of with a heron.”
Donna took the heron to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington. A day later, the heron was dead. X-rays at the Centre showed the heron had been shot in the leg with a BB or pellet gun, likely two to three weeks before it was captured by GROWLS.
Donna said, “it likely starved to death because it had difficulty moving around.”
This past Tuesday, Donna was called to the same area on Gabriola.
Just off Carmen Crescent, on a trail connecting through to Agi Hall (the McRae NAPTEP property) three raccoons, a female adult and two juveniles, were found dead.
Donna said they were left just off where Fell Road connects Carmen Crescent to the meadow.
She said it wasn’t clear if that was where they had been killed.
“They looked like they were placed in a circle.
“People had reported hearing gun shots not long before. two of them appeared to have been shot, but we haven’t received confirmation. The third looked like it had been killed with a blow to the head.”
Donna reported the incident to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line and spoke to Stuart Bates, Conservation Officer with the Ministry of Environment, who she was already dealing with in relation to the heron.
Cpl. Trevor MacKay and Cst. Mari . Haslam of the Gabriola RCMP have an investigation open on the incidents.
Cpl. MacKay said, “Cst. Haslam is the investigator and is working with GROWLS and the local veterinarian. The police are awaiting results of how the raccoons died before asking for the public assistance with information.”
Donna said while there is no way to know for sure if the heron could have been saved, Bringing the heron in earlier may have enabled the staff in Errington to save it.
She has heard reports that people noticed it in the area for a few days before GROWLS was called.
Donna said whether people know an animal is injured or not, “if you see unusual behaviour, call GROWLS.”
GROWLS emergency pager: 250 – 714 - 7101
Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line: 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.
Gabriola RCMP non-emergency line: 250-247-8333