Over Easter weekend, Ralph Shopland and his family from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada discovered and rescued an abandoned animal near Marsh Lake.
Mr. Shopland told CBC News, "I just defaulted to thinking it was a dog.” His family sent out a call on Facebook looking for another dog to serve as a wet nurse to the rescued animal. The tiny animal, whose eyes are still closed, was nursed for a few days by the surrogate mother.
“We needed to get it attended to because we don’t have that capability. I’m not a mommy," Shopland said. Just over a week old, the young creature is now in the care of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and doing much better than when it was discovered. The caregivers are bottle-feeding the animal every three hours. "It seems like he is well hydrated and active and doesn’t cry in between meals. So, that means he’s not hungry,” said Maria Hallock of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. “So, he’s getting enough milk and slowly growing. Because I only had him for day and a half and he gained six grams since yesterday."
Since its care at the preserve, experts have determined that the animal is not actually what the family thought it was. Dave Bakica, a Yukon conservation officer said, "Originally, they thought it was a dog, but it wasn't a dog Then they thought it might be an otter or a marten or a number of other different things, wolverine possibly." Yukon Wildlife Preserve officials are almost certain that the little creature is a fox because of its characteristic white tipped tail.
Because the rescued animal has been imprinted with humans, it will likely live in captivity. In this case, conservation officials believe that the animal was truly abandoned and its mother was probably hit by a car. However, in general, Bakica advises against touching wild animals saying, "If you think you've found orphaned wildlife, in most cases mother is very close by and just waiting for you to leave. We try to tell people, please do not pick up any orphaned wildlife."
Video and more info: CBC