Have You Ever Seen a Wild Turkey in Mississauga?

If you've ever seen a wild turkey in Mississauga, you might have been surprised and wondered how it got here. Back in March, a video of a man being chased by a wild turkey in Brampton went viral, but there are more where that one came from!

According to animal services at the City of Brampton, wild turkeys aren't just roaming Brampton - they're all over Ontario.

"Wild turkeys were reintroduced to Ontario in the 1980s and 1990s in various places," said Kathy Duncan, manager of animal services, City of Brampton.

As of around 2007, there are over 70,000 turkeys in Ontario, said Duncan.

These thousands of Ontario turkeys are actually imported from the U.S.

According to Duncan, wild turkeys native to Ontario were last seen in the early 1900s. The imported turkeys might not necessarily be the ones that used to exist across the province, but they were introduced to try and repopulate that native species.

There are also turkey hunts that happen across the province for game hunters, so reintroducing wild turkeys to Ontario was largely done to manage the province's turkey population, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

As for wild turkeys in our region, "it's about whether there's habitat to support them," said Duncan.

Any ravines, forested areas, and conservation areas in our area are ideal turkey habitat.

"The ones that are here seem to be more hearty," said Duncan.

And there is a most likely scenario for the turkey who chased the man in the east end back in March.

"We were able to determine that in that case, people were actively feeding the turkey," said Duncan.

"Frequently, there are people feeding wildlife, then other people come into conflict with that wildlife because that can make them more bold."

While you're not likely to encounter an aggressive wild turkey in Mississauga, there are things you should and shouldn't do if you come in contact with wildlife.

According to Duncan, you shouldn't approach the animal, encourage the animal to approach, or feed the animal in any case.

If an animal approaches you, you can be loud, make yourself big, make a noise, and stand tall.

"Typically, they're more afraid of you than you are of them," said Duncan.

"Don't feed the wildlife - typically, they're built to exist and subsist in the habitat they live in, and it's a natural process."

Animal services does not usually get calls about wild turkey sightings, unless they're injured, or in rare cases, acting like the turkey back in March.

In any case, wildlife is not a significant threat to city residents.

All in all, be vigilant but not paranoid. It is highly unlikely that wildlife in Mississauga will attack you or your children and you can take common sense steps to ensure your pets are safe.

For more information on wildlife in Mississauga, click here.

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