Wildlife & Biodiversity
Oakville residents are fortunate to live in one of the most biodiverse areas in Ontario with over 900 different species of plants, 185 types of birds, 30 species of amphibians and reptiles, 29 mammals and 58 different kinds of fish. The town has a number of programs and services in place to protect and enhance these resources, including its Wildlife Management Strategy, an online coyote reporting system, a Biodiversity page and information on wildlife proofing your property.
Distemper outbreak in raccoons
Oakville has recently been experiencing an unusually high incidence of distemper in the local raccoon population. The town is working closely with the Oakville Humane Society to provide accurate information and appropriate measures residents should take. This virus is generally present at low levels and can affect pets such as dogs and ferrets if they have not been immunized and come into direct contact with an infected animal. Distemper does not pose a threat to human health. The virus affects respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological systems and is often fatal. Healthy raccoons will either retreat or become defensive when threatened. Diseased animals will often appear lethargic and unreactive.
For more information and what to do if you come across a raccoon displaying unusual behaviour, visit our page on raccoons.
Wildlife proofing your property
While it can be frustrating when wildlife gets into gardens or homes, animals are simply seeking out food or shelter and if there is a suitable location, eventually they will find it. While private property issues are the responsibility of the property owner, the town offers a number of resources to help in preventing and resolving conflict situations. To learn more and access resources such as a wildlife proofing property checklist and tips on finding a humane wildlife control company, visit our wildlife proofing your property page.
Reporting wildlife encounters
There are a number of resources for reporting incidents with wildlife:
- An encounter with a coyote, observed feeding of coyotes by people or overflowing organic waste materials on public property: Report information to the town's online coyote reporting system.
- For reptiles and amphibians (turtles, snakes, frogs) along the side of the road please report observations to Conservation Halton's online Road Ecology Survey.
- To report dead wildlife beside or on a roadway visit the Oakville and Milton Humane Society website for details. You are also encouraged to report information to the Ontario Road Ecology Group who tracks this data in their efforts to improve road safety for wildlife.
- For reporting dead wildlife on private property, generally, removal of animals is the responsibility of the property owner, however, if a dead bat is found please contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at 1-866-673-4781.
For more information, please read the June 15, 2012 media release from Conservation Halton.
Road ecology is a growing field that combines transportation, planning, engineering, ecology and GIS to develop better ways of managing the interaction between wildlife and roads. On October 9, 2013, the Town of Oakville offered a symposium on road ecology to discuss key road ecology projects in local settings, resources available to support municipalities, and the provincial “wildlife mitigation strategy” under development by the Ministry of Transportation.
Speaker presentations from the symposium and notes on each speaker are available:
Donna Doyle, Town of Oakville
Presentation: Municipal Wildlife Mitigation Strategies (pdf, 669 kB)
Notes: Municipal Wildlife Mitigation Strategies Speaker Notes (pdf, 72 kB)
Kari Gunson, Eco Kare International
Presentation: Data to Inform Mitigation Planning (pdf, 4.02 mB)
Notes: Data to Inform Mitigation Planning Speaker Notes (pdf, 85 kB)
Further resources: Eco Kare International
Rick Levick, Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation
Presentation: A Community-Based Initiative to Reduce SAR Reptile Road Mortality on the Long Point Causeway (pdf, 5.1 mB)
Notes: A Community-Based Initiative to Reduce SAR Reptile Road Mortality on the Long Point Causeway Speaker Notes (pdf, 64 kB)
Further resources: Long Point Causeway
Brenda Caruthers, Ministry of Transportation
Presentation: Development of a Wildlife Mitigation Strategy for Provincial Roads in Ontario (pdf, 7.4 mB)
Notes: Development of a Wildlife Mitigation Strategy for Provincial Roads in Ontario Speaker Notes (pdf, 35 kB)
Kim Barrett, Conservation Halton
Presentation: Why did the Salamander Cross the Road (pdf, 3.4 mB)
Notes: Why did the Salamander Cross the Road Speaker Notes (pdf, 81 kB)
Further resources: Conservation Halton
Mandy Karch, Ontario Road Ecology Group
Presentation: Road Ecology Tools to Help Achieve Sustainable Growth (pdf, 10.5 mB)
Notes: Road Ecology Tools to Help Achieve Sustainable Growth Speaker Notes (pdf, 88 kB)
Further resources: Ontario Road Ecology Group
Learn more about the species in our area by joining a naturalists' club –– check out the South Peel Naturalists’ Club
- Plant trees with Ground Breakers (with OakvilleGreen)
- Get involved with one of the many monitoring programs available. Some organizations will also provide training. Contact Conservation Halton or Bird Studies Canada to learn more.