Saanich animal control officer Mike Gibson used a catch-pole to lift a baby raccoon out of a 10-foot drainage pipe on July 10. (Photo submitted by Mike Gibson)

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

The cries of a baby raccoon could be heard echoing from a pipe in a Saanich neighbourhood on Friday, July 10 and Mike Gibson, an animal control officer with Saanich Police Department, swooped in to save the day.

The young raccoon had gotten stuck in a vertical drainage pipe in the 3200-block of Quadra Street, Gibson explained, adding that he was able to locate the baby animal by its cries.

Gibson, who’s worked in law enforcement for 44 years, peered down a six inch wide pipe and there, 10 feet down, sat the upset baby raccoon.

RELATED: Dog rescued from bottom of well by Vancouver Island firefighters

The mother had been seen wandering in the area near the pipe but she couldn’t reach her baby and it couldn’t climb out on its own because the plastic walls were too slick, Gibson explained. Fearing that the baby would starve to death at the bottom of the pipe, he got to work.

The rescue was slow as the little animal was stuck snugly so getting anything around its body to lift it out was a challenge.

“Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking. I was determined not to leave until I got the little guy out of there,” Gibson said.

After trying “pretty much every tool in the animal control arsenal, without success,” Gibson decided to try using a catch pole – an aluminum rod with a wire at the end – to snare and then lift the baby out.

He had to extend his entire arm and shoulder into the pipe and hold the catch pole with his fingertips just to reach the little raccoon.

“It was difficult, as I could not reach down into the pipe and simultaneously see down there, as it was totally dark,” he said. “In the end, I held a flashlight in my teeth to catch glimpses of what I was doing.”

At first, things were looking up for the young raccoon – the baby grabbed onto the catch pole wire and held on long enough for Gibson to pull him to within two feet of the top. However, the little animal got “jammed,” let go of the wire and fell back down to the bottom.

Finally, after a few failed attempts, Gibson was able to get the catch pole wire around the raccoon’s belly and tightened it just enough to lift him out.

“It sure felt good” to pull the baby to freedom, he said.

RELATED: Bald eagle dies after drowning near Campbell River despite rescue efforts

Gibson released the little raccoon into the underbrush, hoping its cries would draw the mom back, but she never came. Not one to give up on a critter, Gibson recaptured the baby in a net and set off to search for the mother.

“After half an hour or so carrying him around in the net, she didn’t respond to his calls and I decided she had given up and was gone,” he said.

Gibson took the baby raccoon to a nearby veterinary office to be assessed and prepared for a trip to the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre, also known as Wild ARC.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

AnimalsrescueSaanich Police Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mike Gibson, an animal control officer with Saanich Police Department, was called to rescue a baby raccoon that had gotten stuck in a drainage pipe on July 10. (Photo submitted by Mike Gibson)

Just Posted

Shortage of workers on Creston, Okanagan cherry and apple farms due to COVID-19

‘The tree fruit industry and the Ministry of Agriculture are asking local workers to consider helping with the harvest so that food waste is reduced’

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

Creston Fire Rescue Report: nine calls between Aug. 1 and 6

On Aug. 2, the CFR team and Wynndel Lakeview Fire Department (WLFD) were dispatched to the area of Highway 3A in Sirdar for a two-vehicle motorcycle incident

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Creston Valley Hospital addresses COVID-19 rumours regarding farms

‘Not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19,’ said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. group renews call for protection of newly discovered glass sponge reefs

DFO says public consultation will play heavy role in future protection measures

Most Read