ShareThis Page
World

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

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 6:48 p.m.
The raccoon that scaled the UBS Plaza was caught in a live trap baited with cat food overnight in St. Paul, Minn., and was picked up by Wildlife Management Services Wednesday, June 13, 2018.   (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
The raccoon that scaled the UBS Plaza was caught in a live trap baited with cat food overnight in St. Paul, Minn., and was picked up by Wildlife Management Services Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
The raccoon that scaled the UBS Plaza was caught in a live trap baited with cat food overnight in St. Paul, Minn., and was picked up by Wildlife Management Services Wednesday, June 13, 2018.   (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
The raccoon that scaled the UBS Plaza was caught in a live trap baited with cat food overnight in St. Paul, Minn., and was picked up by Wildlife Management Services Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo, a raccoon rests on a window ledge on the 22nd floor of the UBS building in downtown St. Paul, Minn. The  raccoon that became an internet sensation by scaling the 25-story office tower in downtown St. Paul was safely trapped early Wednesday, and animal control officials were preparing to release it back into the wild. (Tad Vezner /Pioneer Press via AP)
In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo, a raccoon rests on a window ledge on the 22nd floor of the UBS building in downtown St. Paul, Minn. The raccoon that became an internet sensation by scaling the 25-story office tower in downtown St. Paul was safely trapped early Wednesday, and animal control officials were preparing to release it back into the wild. (Tad Vezner /Pioneer Press via AP)
A raccoon is loaded in the back of a Wildlife Management Services pickup truck in the loading dock of the UBS Plaza in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The raccoon will be released in the wild. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
A raccoon is loaded in the back of a Wildlife Management Services pickup truck in the loading dock of the UBS Plaza in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The raccoon will be released in the wild. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
A Wildlife Management Services employee approaches a raccoon trapped in a cage on top of the UBS Plaza in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.  (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
A Wildlife Management Services employee approaches a raccoon trapped in a cage on top of the UBS Plaza in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
A raccoon is carried off the roof of the UBS Plaza tower in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)
A raccoon is carried off the roof of the UBS Plaza tower in St. Paul, Minn. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS — 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 (hash)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 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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me