VIDEO: Man Feeds Dozens of Raccoons As Per Wife's Dying Wish
A Youtube channel from our neighbor to the north calls himself the Raccoon Whisperer, and he's got a pretty popular channel on which he feeds an increasingly tubby group of Canadian raccoons on his porch. The videos are undeniably fun to watch; the older gentleman is clearly an animal lover, and he's a friendly, even grandfatherly presence.
The project begins with a sad story. Jim Blackwood, a retired mountie and all-around very kind human being, and his wife lived on the coast of Novia Scotia, in a heavily wooded area far from other people. They started by discovering some orphan raccoons and taking care of them, and every year more raccoon kits are brought to the house to meet Jim. When Jim's wife died of cancer in 2003, she begged him to continue to take care of the raccoons, which he promised to do. He has fed the raccoons once a day ever since.
The raccoons clearly love him, though this may be as much the product of the gigantic raccoon feasts over which he prevails as his winning personality. Just over the course of this video, the man dispatches with 20 pounds of hot dogs, 2 bags of grapes and some cookies!
Now, ordinarily, we take the stance that feeding wild animals is not, as a rule, a good idea. Especially when it comes to bears and wild predators, feeding the animal increases their reliance on humans, which in turn increases their aggressiveness when that free cache of food dries up. But the Racoon Whisperer says that he treats the animals for a variety of ticks, diseases (including rabies), and parasites and that aside from occasional fits of feline distemper, the animals are healthy. There are also no other humans around for the raccoons to disrupt.
The videos are also, with apologies to the rules of conservation, very cute. The raccoons collect their hot dogs politely, standing up, with both little paws.
So is it ok to feed a non-dangerous animal in the wild? Because though what Jim is doing is certainly altering the little ecosystem of raccoons in his immediate area, it doesn't seem like he's hurting them much, does he? Even if they do seem a little corpulent for raccoons, but hey, we can't be throwing stones in that direction.