Raccoons are doing well in nature and alongside human development and so are not a conservation priority. However, for a children's zoo, racoons provide a connection to children of a familiar local animal that reminds us of some of the challenges of living side by side with wildlife. The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo has rescued orphaned raccoons for decades.
The zoo staff found Mortimer when they were searching for a replacement for Loki, a one-eyed raccoon that passed away on September 23, 2021. The zookeepers knew that Bobby, the remaining raccoon, needed a companion, so they started contacting rehab centers to find a replacement raccoon.
Within a week, zookeeper Lee found one at the Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service in Fresno. The center had received a young, male raccoon from a private family who said they found him in a burn area in the Sierra around July. Only a few months old, the family took him and cared for him as best they could but soon realized that, as a wild animal, he needed to go to a local animal shelter that could take care of him. Since the raccoon was habituated to humans he couldn’t be released into the wild.
Mortimer was then transported from Fresno to the Bay Area, where he went into quarantine at a local wildlife center where he received a full health checkup. On November 3, 2021 Mortimer arrived at the JMZ. Mortimer was placed in an adjoining enclosure so he could smell, hear and see Bobby the raccoon. After several days, the raccoons were placed together and now they are good buddies.
Photo notes: All photos taken by Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo staff
Stay tuned for more information on the JMZ’s rescue and conservation efforts!