The Friends of Mount Royal group is pleading with the public not to feed the park’s burgeoning raccoon population.
Antonin St-Jean, a conservationist with the group, said that while raccoons are known as carriers of rabies, there is a potentially greater issue that people should be concerned about: distemper.
“Distemper is a neurological disorder that is similar to rabies without the angry face,” he said.
It can lead to death within two to three weeks.
The raccoon population on Mount Royal is about six to eight times the norm, owing to the ready availability of food and woods.
“When you have 60 raccoons among 200 people, it’s a health issue,” said St-Jean.
The city and province said they don’t relocate or exterminate the animals, on the advice of conservationists.
Some say this is a problem because signs that warn people against feeding the animals are routinely ignored by visitors.