Friday, March 13, 2015

"There's a Racoon in my Parka" by Lyn Hancock

I'm always finding interesting used books at the Powell River MCC Thrift Shop for a great price. Their collection includes books donated locally augmented from their chain of stores across Canada and the States. Here's one of my $1 bargain books.

There's a Racoon in my Parka (Seal Books, 1978) is a memoir written by Lyn Hancock. It chronicles Lyn's marriage to zoologist David Hancock and the set up their Wildlife Conservation Centre at Island View on the Saanich Peninsula near Victoria on Vancouver Island. Here they studied and rehabilitated animals and birds, some of which became like pets.

The main focus of the book was the 1970 transplant of sea otters from Alaska to remote Checleset Bay in the Bunsby Islands off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The story followed their overland trek to Alaska to film background information for future video tours and educational presentations.

Then Lyn and David met the Canadian Federal Fisheries boat the G.B. Reed in Alaska's Prince William Sound for the second relocation effort to reintroduce 45 sea otters to British Columbia. 

One of the adopted critters that the Hancock's rescued was a small racoon they named Rocky. He was so small he snuggled in her parka hood. He grew up along the way and became the star of the show.

I enjoyed how Lyn wove history and geography throughout her narrative. I enjoyed it so much, I purchased two more of her early books online from Amazon.

Lots has happened with the sea otter reintroduction program since those days. You can find more information online:

Globe and Mail "The Remarkable Comeback"
The Tyee "Too Many Sea Otters?" Part 1
The Tyee "Taking Aim at Sea Otters" Part 2
Fisheries and Oceans Canada "Sea Otters"
Sea Otter Recovery website
Lyn Hancock's website

Have you ever raised a pet? How did that go? -- Margy


  1. I love the raccoon in the parka!!! I have always enjoyed being around them. In MO they really don't carry rabies, the bats and fox do. In other areas of the country they do carry it though. This was confirmed by an exotic animal vet and our Dept of Health. They will come up and eat leftover cat food right on the porch while we are sitting there. We talk to them.

    1. I've only been near one raccoon. It came in our cat door and I discovered it in the kitchen eating the cat's food. It was quite aggressive when I tried to shoo it back out of the house. It ran up to the top of the glass shower enclosure in the master bedroom and shook it back and forth. We opened the door to outside, closed the bedroom door to the rest of the house, and waited for him to make his own way out. - Margy

  2. Sounds like another great read.

  3. Looks like another great book - thanks for showcasing some wonderful books.

  4. I love the reviews you do of NW books! I have several (including this one) on my To Read list now!

  5. Thanks all for commenting. Do you have any good books to recommend?