Raccoon rescued from drain in 20 hour operation collapses and dies

By Abigail Miller

A raccoon that was trapped in a drain pipe under a parking lot was rescued after almost 20 hours only to collapse and die the following morning.

The rescue effort began after a homeless man alerted police to cries he heard coming from the drain in a shopping center parking lot off Freedom Boulevard in Santa Cruz, California, Daily Mail reports.

Despite initial attempts, the city's Public Works Department confirmed that it could not be pulled out and that they would have to cut through the concrete to reach the animal.

When it was finally dislodged it was comatose, dehydrated and hypothermic, with a body temperature so low it did not register on a thermometer. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services
When it was finally dislodged it was comatose, dehydrated and hypothermic, with a body temperature so low it did not register on a thermometer. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services

A team of officials from the fire department, animal shelter, public works department and wildlife emergency services worked from 3am to 10:30pm to rescue the raccoon from the drain, NBC Los Angeles reported.

They finally freed it after using shovels, jackhammers, and a saw to break up the pavement.

Many of the officials who were asked to help voluntarily returned after they'd finished for the day, around 5pm, to help the rescue efforts.

The raccoon was believed to be trapped for over 24 hours, and when it was finally dislodged it was comatose, dehydrated and hypothermic, with a body temperature so low it did not register on a thermometer.

The rescue began after a homeless man alerted police to cries he heard coming from a drain in a shopping center parking lot off Freedom Boulevard. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services
The rescue began after a homeless man alerted police to cries he heard coming from a drain in a shopping center parking lot off Freedom Boulevard. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services

It was then placed in heating pads and given warm fluids.

A Santa Cruz veterinarian helped the raccoon regain some strength around 9am the morning after its rescue.

The vet posted on Facebook that the raccoon was able to walk, but then collapsed and died, likely due to exertional myopathy and stress to its muscles.

After several unsuccessful attempts they decided to cut through the concrete in the shopping center's parking lot to reach the creature. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services
After several unsuccessful attempts they decided to cut through the concrete in the shopping center's parking lot to reach the creature. Photo / Wildlife Emergency Services

The vet also commended the efforts of the rescue teams, writing: 'What's more incredible than us getting this animal out alive, was the tremendous heart that went into its rescue - people giving their time and energy to help this poor creature.

"This heart gives me hope for the new year".

- Daily Mail

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