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Trooper, Southwest Florida’s raccoon ambassador, has died

By Staff | Apr 2, 2021


Wildlife Education Project, Inc. has shared the loss of their beloved wildlife ambassador, Trouper the Raccoon, at the age of 12.

“Trouper passed away peacefully on Sunday evening, March 28, 2021, in the loving presence of Dorothy ‘Dot’ Lee, his lifelong caretaker and teaching partner through the WEP,” a release from WEP issued Thursday states. Together, they have educated children and adults around the world on their core teaching, which is to always Extend Respect and Kindness to All Living Things.”

In 2009, at 8 weeks old, Trouper the Raccoon survived an injury perpetrated by a human which left him blind, brain damaged, and unable to feed or defend himself. Luckily for Trouper, animal rehabilitator Dot Lee rescued and nurtured him through incredible odds of survival, although she regularly said, “Trouper rescued me.” As they have shared their message to countless audiences, people from all walks of life are riveted by the story of how Dot brought Trouper back from death’s door many times and the lessons he taught her along the way in their life together. Their work inspired the founding of the WEP and its core principles, in the hopes that fun, interactive, educational programs could intervene and make a difference in the protection and preservation of all living things.

Dot Lee is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, a retired physical education teacher with a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina, and is a former Special Olympics swimming coach. She has devoted her life to wildlife rehabilitation and the education of children and adults. She actively advocates for the humane treatment of wildlife and educates the public to respect raccoons and all wildlife as we co-habitat in shared spaces.

Residing in Southwest Florida, the Trouper and Dot duo are internationally known inspiring fans across the United States, Europe and Latin America. They’ve caught the attention of celebrities and loyal fans who would go out of their way to make a trip to Florida just to have a private session with them. Trouper and Dot were featured in Nat Geo WILD’s “Unlikely Animal Friends,” People magazine, All Creatures Magazine​, Guideposts Magazine, the Sanibel Island Reporter, Sanibel Islander, Cape Coral Breeze, USA Today, Florida Weekly, Naples Daily News, News-Press, Times of the Islands, Island Sun, Palm Beach Post, and a multitude of other news outlets and websites across the globe. Trouper also has a children’s book, Trouper: The True Adventures of a Blind Raccoon, written by Kyle L. Miller.

Dot Lee with Trooper. Lee, an animal wildlife rehabilitator, was Trooper's caretaker. Trouper was blind, brain damaged, and could not fend for himself due to an injury as a baby kit.

For more than 12 years, Trouper and Dot carried their message to thousands. Their selflessness and healing energy touched souls and brought joy across the globe. ​Their hands-on presentations that carry one key lesson – RESPECT – spread awareness and joy. Children, senior citizens, and special needs individuals were particular audiences who were touched by Trouper. His legacy is felt in the hearts of everyone who has ever met him, as he was truly one of a kind.

“In lieu of flowers, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to honor the memory of Trouper and to show support to Dot and their legacy together,” the release states.

There are several ways to donate.

Donate online to the tribute “GoFundMe” at https://gofund.me/1b850236 or at www.WildlifeEducationProject.org, where you can read more about the foundation. Future projects of the WEP will also be made available on the website as details become available.

​Cards and donations can also be mailed to Dorothy Lee, Wildlife Education Project, 12901 McGregor Blvd., Suite 20, Box ​#​218, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

“On behalf of the team of volunteers at Wildlife Education Project, Inc., we thank the community of fans and followers for all of the support and love you have shown to Trouper throughout the years; we hope you will continue to support his legacy,” WEP officials said.


The Wildlife Education Project, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit corporation dedicated to providing educational presentations, workshops, events, and products that promote respect for and the welfare of all animals, and the habitats in which they live. WEP accomplishes this through the real life story of Miss Dot and Trouper the Blind Raccoon. Trouper the Blind Raccoon served as the official Animal Ambassador of the WEP. He was licensed with the State of Florida and the USDA and received all regular required vaccinations.

Source: The Wildlife Education Project, Inc.