A baby raccoon helplessly slumps on the ground. Its mother climbs down a nearby pole and hovers over the young one.
A growing contingent of onlookers watch and record the incident on their phones.
A seemingly unaware SeaBus passenger trudges forward on track to crush the baby raccoon – but its fast-acting mother pulls it to safety at the last second.
A video capturing these events was posted to TikTok on Sunday (Oct. 2), and has since been viewed more than 3.4 million times as of Wednesday morning.
While on her way to meet a friend in North Vancouver, Cynthia Robbyn (@cynthiarobbyn) said the baby raccoon dropped down beside her from above, and it seemed the animal “just knocked the wind out of themselves.”
“Then s/he began to cry…sounding much like a human baby,” her post continues. “Momma to the rescue though.”
“I kept my distance but stuck around not sure what to do as people were walking by,” Robbyn wrote. She said she hopes that people watching the video won't judge the passenger who almost stepped on the raccoons too harshly, as he might not have seen them.
Robbyn said she felt OK to leave when workers asked people to keep the area clear and move along.
In subsequent posts, she explained that it appeared the baby raccoon was just scared, not seriously injured.
That theory is supported by Critter Care Wildlife Society. Operations manager Brandon Dean said his team wasn’t notified of this incident, but he spoke with the rest of his staff and has “high hopes” that the little one is OK.
While it’s hard to say for sure from the video, and it’s unclear how far it fell, “if it was in an amount of pain, it would be squawking, it would be in distress,” Dean said.
“Raccoons are very agile critters – they can tolerate a lot,” he continued, adding that the mother was doing her job by hovering over the baby.
Dean said their nest is likely nearby and there are lots of food sources in the area, with the market and numerous restaurants at Lonsdale Quay.
If you see a baby raccoon or other animal in distress, Dean asks that people give animals space and call Critter Care at 604-530-2064.
A spokesperson from City of North Vancouver said animal control wasn’t notified and that it’s likely the baby raccoon recovered and left the area.
This article has been updated from its original version to include comment from Cynthia Robbyn.