(TORONTO: June 13, 2016) – Yesterday Toronto Wildlife Centre’s rescue team, working with City staff and local residents (dubbed “Team Capybara”), captured one of the elusive capybaras.
TWC’s rescue team leader, Andrew Wight, rescue staff member Stacey Freeman, and several rescue volunteers joined Team Capybara in High Park over the weekend to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. This included a pre-dawn visit Sunday morning.
Sunday evening one of TWC’s traps was set; Wight and Freeman carefully hiding it in the bushes and making sure to cover the wire floor. “The size and type of trap, as well as how and when it is set, makes all the difference” Wight said. “It was also really helpful that City staff and some residents kept people away from the area during the trapping”.
Within minutes of the trap being set, the capybara was caught. TWC’s rescue team has also offered its assistance with the capture of the second capybara, once there are confirmed sightings to suggest its location.
Toronto Wildlife Centre is a registered charity, operating primarily on donations. The only wildlife centre in the Greater Toronto Area and the busiest one in Canada, it is especially busy at this time of the year. “I knew our rescue team was very busy every single day, so I didn’t want to ask them about the capybaras at first” said Executive Director Nathalie Karvonen. But last week she finally spoke to the rescue team leader about them. “Do you think you can catch them?” Karvonen asked Wight. “Yes, I think we can” Wight said. And then the rescue team reached out to City staff to offer their help.
Capybara capture isn’t what TWC’s rescue program normally does. With hundreds of species of wildlife in the GTA, they are constantly busy carrying out difficult and sometimes dangerous rescues of wildlife; like the two baby falcons they reunited with their family last week, high on a rooftop. Almost one year ago, TWC’s rescue team was relied upon by the City to respond to an oil spill in Mimico Creek where 115 oiled ducks and ducklings had to be captured and brought to the centre for medical attention, cleaning and rehabilitation. TWC’s rescue staff have extensive training in ice rescue, swift water rescue, tree climbing, chemical immobilization and more.
Despite the highly specialized and much-needed service being one-of-a-kind in the City, it’s still a struggle to keep it funded on a daily basis. “We are always fundraising, and donations are always needed” Karvonen said “Because wild animals are always finding themselves in trouble in our urban world”.
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For more information about this story or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Nathalie Karvonen, Executive Director at Toronto Wildlife Centre
416-631-0662 x3201 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto Wildlife Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, and to educating the public on wildlife-related issues. More information can be found at www.torontowildlifecentre.com.