WORLD Raccoon set free after scaling 25-story US skyscraper

WORLD

Raccoon set free after scaling 25-story US skyscraper

AP

10:07, June 14, 2018

A raccoon sits on a window sill of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota, US, June 12, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Photo/Agencies)

A raccoon that became an internet sensation by scaling a 25-story office tower in downtown St. Paul, Minneapolis, US, was safely trapped Wednesday and released back into the wild.

The raccoon looked a bit bedraggled but healthy after it was caught before dawn atop the UBS Plaza. Technicians took the caged raccoon down a freight elevator to a truck, according to Wildlife Management Services, which provides animal control services for St. Paul.

"It's definitely a healthy raccoon. It's in good condition. It's eating normally," said Christina Valdivia, the company's general manager, who accompanied the technicians to the rooftop.

The raccoon's adventures caused a stir on social media as it scaled the tower Tuesday, with many Twitter users voicing concern for its safety or joking about the drama as its seemingly death-defying climb was livestreamed by several broadcasters. Valdivia said her mother-in-law saw it on the news in Chile.

The animal made it to the roof early Wednesday, where traps baited with cat food were waiting. The raccoon, a female, was released later in the day and scampered into a wooded area on private property near the Twin Cities suburb of Shakopee.

Minnesota Public Radio, which broke the story and closely followed the raccoon's climb from its headquarters less than a block away, branded the animal #mprraccoon.

A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota, US, June 12, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Photo/Agencies)

Among those riveted was Suzanne MacDonald, a raccoon behavior expert at York University in Toronto.

"Raccoons don't think ahead very much, so raccoons don't have very good impulse control," she said, admitting she could barely sleep she was so worried about the animal. "I don't think the raccoon realized when it started climbing what it was in for."Initial speculation was that the raccoon climbed to a lower part of the building, frequented by pigeons, in search of bird eggs. But workers who tried to lure it down with a wooden ramp likely just scared it, said Phil Jenni, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.

So it did what raccoons do when they're stressed: it climbed.

It's not unusual for raccoons to climb fairly tall trees and other structures, according to MacDonald and Jenni, though neither had heard of one climbing such a tall building before.

MacDonald said one raccoon grabbed attention in 2015, after climbing 699 feet (213 meters) up a construction crane in Toronto. It safely climbed down on its own.

Jenni said the outpouring of concern online was encouraging, but he noted it's often best to leave wild animals alone.

"The narrative that developed was this raccoon was stranded and needed rescuing. I'm not sure that was true. It was behaving like a lot of raccoons do," he said.

A raccoon scratches herself on the window sill of the Paige Donnelly Law Firm on the 23rd floor of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota, US, June 12, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Photo/Agencies)

A raccoon sits in a cage before being taken to be released in the wild, in the loading dock of the UBS Plaza tower in St. Paul, Minnesota, US, June 13, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Photo/Agencies)

A raccoon sits on a window sill of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota, US, June 12, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Photo/Agencies)

Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue