Every team needs a mascot!
Here at team CVWR our mascot is our resident racoon, Mr. Merlot.
As you might imagine, he has a story….
Merlot was admitted to the Center as a 1 week old raccoon in April 2019. His den had been made in a parked machine at the Whitehall Mine in Trempealeau County. Merlot along with 3 siblings were taken in by a caring worker who noticed them falling from the machine when it started up to be used. The family of kits were left overnight in a man-made den where the machine had been parked in the hopes of the mother raccoon returning to collect her kits.
The following day they were still undisturbed and crying. The four pack were the Center’s first intake of raccoons of the 2019 season though not the last they thrived and developed over a six month rehabilitation period being taught how to survive in the wild. Unfortunately, when release time approached, Merlot’s hip was noticed to be damaged, which left him unable to fully climb trees. Without adequate use of his leg for climbing, Merlot would not be able to survive in the wild.
Center volunteers began working with him in the fall of 2019 and determined that, despite his hip injury, he was able to walk and put weight on his leg. Merlot also responded well to training and became an official member of the outreach ambassador team in late November 2019. In December 2019, Merlot was neutered and an enriched outdoor enclosure was built for him. The black mask around a raccoon’s eyes helps deflect glare and helps with night vision. Raccoons also have five toes on their front paws that act much like human hands.
We have come to love Merlot and he is a great ambassador for all racoons. Once you meet Mr. Merlot, you will love him too!