Animal rescuers are warning Manitobans to contact experts to deal with injured wildlife, advice that comes after a motorist rescued an unconscious animal and then had the coyote awaken in his car.
Eli Boroditsky, 68, was driving to work shortly before 10 p.m. on Nov. 26 when a large animal unexpectedly jumped onto the road in front of him.
"I thought it was a domesticated animal. I thought it was a dog, just a large dog. That’s why I tried to take it with and keep an eye on it so that it could be looked after," said Boroditsky, nearly one week after the incident.
After the collision at 90 km/h, he parked his car, checked on the injured animal on the highway's shoulder and decided to put the groggy creature in the back of his vehicle.
"I was just concerned that if I left it there, a wild animal might come by and kill it," he said, adding he had to work a late shift at Bothwell Cheese in New Bothwell, Man., about 40 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.
He then drove to work with the animal on the floor in the back of his car. When he arrived, he told a coworker, who went out to his car and identified the animal as a coyote — a discovery that Boroditsky said shocked him.
The duo was unable to contact a conservation officer for help until the next morning. Before then, the coyote had awoken and was lying down on the backseat of the car.
"It was extremely docile. It was injured, it wasn’t severely injured, but she was awake and just laid there," Boroditsky recalls.
He said the animal did not urinate, defecate or scratch up the seats of his car. The only damage his car sustained was from hitting the animal initially.
The next morning, a provincial conservation officer transported the coyote to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre in Île-des-Chênes, where she is expected to make a full recovery.
"We’re very happy that conservation officers were called because this could’ve been a pretty dangerous situation. With animals and predators, it can be dangerous to have them in your car," said Zoe Nakata, executive director at the centre.
Nakata said coyotes can be identified by their long snouts and puffy tails. If unsure about an injured animal’s identity or for any advice, she encourages all Manitobans to call her centre, others like it or a provincial conservation officer.
A Manitoba Conservation spokesperson also said in a statement Monday the department agrees Manitobans should not put wildlife in their cars.
As for the recovering coyote, Nakata said it suffered head trauma and wounds on her face and leg, but she’s on the mend.
The coyote is the centre’s 2,100th patient this year. Nakata said the centre has taken in a record number of animals in 2019 — up from 1,900 last year and about 1,750 two years ago.
The average animal rehabilitation case costs the centre, which is funded by community donations, a total of $500.
Maggie is a cub reporter who covers every beat in the newsroom. She appreciates alliteration, when newspaper ink stains her fingertips and, more importantly, tips on social and environmental equity issues.