More than 100 skunks were removed from Nelson city limits this summer.
For the past five years, Nelson Urban Trappers has held a contract with the city to trap and relocate problem skunks and raccoons. Justin Willands, one of a handful of people who manage the traps, was at Nelson city council Monday to report his work to date.
He said the company caught 108 skunks and 12 racoons over the course of its three month contract from May to July.
“Those numbers are fairly typical of what we’ve been seeing for the past three years,” Willands said, noting numbers were higher when they first started trapping the pests but seem to have levelled off.
He was surprised to see that raccoon activity hasn’t spiked with the decline in skunks.
“When you remove one [forager], you tend to see another move in to take it’s place,” Willands said. “As far as I can tell, the crows seem to have been the real winner — they’ve really taken off … It could be because the food skunks used to eat is now available to the crows.”
Willands has also noticed an increase in urban deer, though not to the point that he’d recommend the city take any action to reduce their numbers. He suggested if council was considering adding to his contract, the best option would be to continue skunk removal to the end of August.
“That’s when they start to bed down for winter and cause problems with digging into foundations of people’s homes,” he said.
While the Nelson Urban Trappers contract is active, they provide a cell number for residents to call and report unwanted wildlife in their yards. Willands and his crew respond with a trap that will remain in place for at least a week.
The animals they catch are taken a long way out of town and released.