Wildlife officials have started distributing rabies vaccines throughout Fredericton in hopes of keeping wildlife in the province — as well as people and their pets — safe from the deadly disease.
Workers began dispersing tiny pellets, which smell like sugar, throughout Odell Park and various other areas in the city.
The hope is that unknowing wildlife like raccoons, skunks and foxes will ingest the pellets, which contain medicine that will prevent from contracting rabies.
Wildlife officers say the program isn’t necessarily needed immediately — the number of reported rabies cases is quite low — however they say it should make sure those numbers don’t change in the near future.
“Currently there is no raccoon strain of rabies in the park or the city of Fredericton,” said Mike Allen, New Brunswick Rabies Control coordinator.
“This is a proactive measure that we’re doing to prevent rabies from becoming established in Fredericton should it ever arrive here.”
Although the numbers weren’t very high to begin with, Allan says in recent years they may have begun to see positive change in relation to rabies.
“We had 27 cases total since May of 2014,” Allan said. “This year only one reported case of raccoon strain in the province. The measures we took last year in preventing the disease may have been very effective in controlling the disease.”
By vaccinating wildlife such as those living in parks, officers believe this to be the best way to keep humans and their pets safe from contracting the disease.
They also recommend all dogs to be kept on a close leash in areas that contain wildlife and to call 8-1-1 if bitten by a wild animal.
The program begins in Fredericton this week and moves to Saint John next week.