St. Paul raccoon set free after scaling 25-story tower - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

St. Paul raccoon set free after scaling 25-story tower

(Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon stretches out on a windowsill high above downtown St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon stretches out on a windowsill high above downtown St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday.
(Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon stretches itself on the window sill of the Paige Donnelly Law Firm on the 23rd floor of the UBS Tower in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon stretches itself on the window sill of the Paige Donnelly Law Firm on the 23rd floor of the UBS Tower in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday.
(Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Tower in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Tower in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday.
(Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon sits on a ledge on the Town Square building in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon sits on a ledge on the Town Square building in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday.
(Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon scales the side of the UBS Tower in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP). A raccoon scales the side of the UBS Tower in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday.

By STEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A raccoon that became an internet sensation by scaling a 25-story office tower in downtown St. Paul 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.

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.

___

For the latest information about the raccoon's climb: https://bit.ly/2sW0HQd

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • AnimalsMore>>

  • 4 new mountain lion kittens found in California mountains

    4 new mountain lion kittens found in California mountains

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:40 PM EDT2018-06-19 16:40:55 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 9:35 PM EDT2018-06-22 01:35:34 GMT
    Four new mountain lion kittens have been found by researchers studying the wild cats living in Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains.
    Four new mountain lion kittens have been found by researchers studying the wild cats living in Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains.
  • Live animals, meat, ivory, wood seized in trafficking stings

    Live animals, meat, ivory, wood seized in trafficking stings

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 4:31 AM EDT2018-06-20 08:31:14 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 9:35 PM EDT2018-06-22 01:35:33 GMT
    International police agency Interpol said a giant operation against illegal trade in wildlife and timber resulted in millions of dollars-worth of seizures and the identification of 1,400 suspects across the world.
    International police agency Interpol said a giant operation against illegal trade in wildlife and timber resulted in millions of dollars-worth of seizures and the identification of 1,400 suspects across the world.
  • Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

    Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

    Monday, June 18 2018 1:50 PM EDT2018-06-18 17:50:16 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 8:36 PM EDT2018-06-22 00:36:11 GMT
    (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via AP, File). File - This undated file photo provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shows a wolf-like animal that was shot on May 16, 2018, after it was spotted in a private pasture with livestock near Dento...(Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via AP, File). File - This undated file photo provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shows a wolf-like animal that was shot on May 16, 2018, after it was spotted in a private pasture with livestock near Dento...
    The mystery is over: Wildlife officials have confirmed that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was a gray wolf.
    The mystery is over: Wildlife officials have confirmed that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was a gray wolf.
Powered by Frankly