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Scarborough's wandering turkey caught after evading capture for months

Toronto Wildlife Centre announced the safe capture and release of a wild turkey seen wandering the city for the past two months.  (Toronto Wildlife Centre/YouTube - image credit)
Toronto Wildlife Centre announced the safe capture and release of a wild turkey seen wandering the city for the past two months. (Toronto Wildlife Centre/YouTube - image credit)

A turkey that's been spotted wandering the streets of Scarborough for the past couple of months has been safely captured and relocated, Toronto Wildlife Centre said.

The charitable wildlife rescue organization said the turkey was either reported or filmed in videos along an on-ramp to Highway 401, near Fairview Mall, in side streets like Warden Avenue and residential neighbourhoods. Toronto police even notified drivers of a turkey causing traffic issues on the other side of the city.

The centre announced the turkey's relocation Wednesday in a video showcasing Toronto police isolating the turkey, and the team's capture and release of it, featuring a big net and a mirror.

WATCH | Wild turkey that's been wandering Scarborough for months gets captured, relocated:

Before its capture on Tuesday, the centre said residents were concerned the turkey was injured. Andrew Wight, the rescue team leader, said the team assessed the turkey and thankfully found it was in healthy condition. To keep it that way, they decided to release it not where it was found, but in a nearby wooded area, he said.

"It's very rare that we agree to a relocation taking place," Wight said in the video.

'Definitely in the turkey's best interest'

"But in this case it was definitely in the turkey's best interest as it was only a matter of time before something awful [was] going to happen."

Speaking to CBC Toronto, Wight said while his team doesn't commonly encounter turkeys, he's caught a few during his over two decades of wildlife rescue with the centre.

He said this turkey, a young male likely born last spring, may have gotten separated from his flock and made himself at home in urban areas of Scarborough since, likely surviving with the help of residents. The turkey got comfortable enough that it would even "play in traffic," he said.

"Passing through would have been normal. To stay there, there had to be a reason, and the reason was food in this case," he said.

To prevent something like this from happening, Wight urges people to avoid feeding wild animals they encounter, even if they mean well.

"The number one thing is don't feed the animals, they don't need it."

Toronto Wildlife Centre urges people to avoid feeding wild animals they counter in the city, for the safety of both residents and the animals themselves.
Toronto Wildlife Centre urges people to avoid feeding wild animals they counter in the city, for the safety of both residents and the animals themselves.

Toronto Wildlife Centre urges people to avoid feeding wild animals they counter in the city, for the safety of both residents and the animals themselves. (Peter Turek/CBC)