Tillsonburg’s Skunk Lady taking the stink out of skunks

Laurel Beechey has been rescuing baby skunks for 35 years. As a wildlife rehabilitator, she takes in orphaned babies and raises them until they’re able to survive in the wild alone
By Tim Alamenciak - Published on July 28, 2017

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The most shocking thing about Laurel Beechey’s wildlife rehabilitation facility is the smell — or lack thereof.

Despite a crate of baby skunks on the patio and an adult skunk roaming free in the house, there’s a distinct lack of odour.

In 35 years rescuing skunks, Beechey has been sprayed only four times. She’s raised hundreds of baby skunks that have gone on to live full lives in the wild. The secret, she says, is moving softly and slowly. With great care, she’s able to bond (somewhat) with the babies. While still ensuring they stay wild at heart, she gets them comfortable enough for her to move them, feed them, and interact with them without triggering a fear response.

Wildlife rehabilitators help mitigate humans’ impact on wild animals, but they also serve as educators, bringing people closer to animals they may otherwise see only in frantic late-night encounters. Through education, Beechey has helped people understand how to live alongside skunks. 

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