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)

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)

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

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid provincial park off Highway 97 Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
PHOTOS: Truck gutted by fire at Pyramid Provincial Park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Linda Sanky photo
Vehicle fire spreads to trees at Penticton beach spot

The fire is at Pyramid beach, off Highway 97 between Summerland and Penticton

Over 300 participants, aged nine to 99 contributed to this yarn bomb outside the Penticton Art Gallery, near the bridge going to the Japanese Gardens. (Penticton Art Gallery)
Penticton has been yarn bombed

Penticton Art Gallery is hoping to yarn bomb even more trees around town but needs your help

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Okanagan man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; Vernon man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read