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

District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen recently photographed the town’s original cemetery — now completely overgrown — among the trails behind the Vanderhoof Museum and Visitor Centre. (Gerry Thiessen photo)
Mayor, historical society examine ways to mark Vanderhoof’s original cemetery

“It is a part of our history and we don’t want that history to evaporate,” Thiessen said.

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

There have been 23 cases of reported cases of COVID-19 in the Nechako Lakes Health Area

’Herbert’ Shane Hartman with his daughter Isla. (Shane Hartman Facebook photo)
Love for daughter and drumming leads to author’s first book

Shane Hartman spent very spare moment writing and illustrating Isla’s New Drum

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Most Read