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

The Burns Lake RCMP is investigating the incident. (Phil McLachlan photo)
Fatal collision between a pedestrian and train near Burns Lake

Police say the investigation is still ongoing

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

Dan Stuart (Christian Heritage Party - BC photo)
Strong values underpin Christian Heritage Party candidate

He’s also suspicious of the COVID-19 pandemic

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read