Toronto has a confused view of raccoons. Some think they are vermin; our courageous Mayor Tory has declared war on them, saying "We are ready, we are armed and we are motivated to show that we cannot be defeated by these critters. We have left no stone unturned in our fight against the Raccoon Nation. Defeat is not an option."
Yet when Conrad the raccoon died in the street, distraught citizens built a shrine with flowers, photos, and even a cigarette in his paw. (See How a dead raccoon touched the heart of a city).
And today we have Scoop, the name given to baby raccoon stuck on a deep concrete window sill at the offices of Canada's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. We may not get a paper tomorrow because it seems the whole building is distraught and out there watching, worried about poor little Scoop. Evelyn Kwong of the Star covers the story:
Curled up in a ball and shivering, a baby raccoon remains trapped on the ledge of a fourth-floor window at the Toronto Star building for a second day in a row....On Wednesday afternoon, the raccoon made several attempts throughout the day to lower itself back down to the ground, but slipped dangerously and nearly fell several times before finding refuge in the corner of the ledge, closer to the window. According to [Toronto Wildlife spokesperson] Van Rhijn, raccoons generally crawl up to high spaces to feel safer from humans throughout the day, and scavenge for food on lower ground at night. “It’s so heart-breaking,” Van Rhjin said. “It’s not that simple. It appears to be too scared.”
But today the Toronto Fire Department came to the rescue with a big cherry picker, nets, ladders and more. Up they went and the Toronto Wildlife people grabbed Scoop with a net.
Who knows what will happen to Scoop. Who knows how much this cost the City to call out the Fire Department. Who knows how many hours of productive work were lost as the crowd gathered to see this rescue.
But the big question is the one of who knows how hypocritical we all are in Toronto. We pay exterminators to remove them from our attics and complain about them constantly. Yet we fall to pieces when one gets trapped on a window ledge and then go out for a burger to celebrate its rescue. We have to figure out our relationship to animals.