Central Alberta’s skunk whisperer was on the job Monday, rescuing three baby skunks.
Medicine River Wildlife Centre’s wildlife conflict specialist’s plan is to reunite the three babies located outside a Red Deer dental clinic on 50th Street with the rest of the family: six babies and the mother.
Gwen Marshall rescued the mom a few days ago at the same location, along with the six babies.
Usually, the centre does not interfere with skunk families, but this time, it was needed, as the small-sized mother had been injured.
“She got a big scar around her neck from when she had plastic around her neck and it cut into the skin,” said Marshall on Monday.
“She’s also lost her tail and it’s halfway naked. She looks fairly ratty, so she needed some help.”
Once the mom is better, she and her nine babies will be set free in the wild.
Entanglement injuries are fairly common for skunks, Marshall said.
“Big problems are (Tim Hortons’) Iced Capp lids, because the skunks will stick their head in the lid, looking for tasty stuff in the cup, try to pull out and the cup lid will get stuck around the neck and cut into the neck.”
Marshall said she did not have an opinion on the Liberal government’s ban on one-time-use plastics by as early as 2021, but encourages users to dispose of their garbage properly, so it doesn’t hurt animals.
“We encourage people to be responsible with your garbage, so if you do have an item that could potentially hurt an animal, like plastic pop ring holders, or lids, or anything like that – cut them up and make sure to dispose of it properly, so animals aren’t going to get entangled.”
Marshall encourages the public to call the Medicine River Wildlife Centre if there’s a skunk problem before doing anything. The centre does not take personally trapped skunks.
In most cases, the centre does not trap and relocate skunk families. Marshall “annoys” them instead. That way, the mamma skunk will move her babies on her own.
So far this summer, Marshall has annoyed about 100 skunk families and trapped and relocated three families, including the one at the Red Deer dental clinic downtown.
Last year, Marshall annoyed about 500 skunk families.