We’re used to a wide variety of customers at Redpoint. We’ve taught the old, the young, the height phobic, the fit and the fearful. But Paula, Gemma and Martin had their instruction skills tested recently when an animal shelter called and asked us to help out with a tree-phobic baby coatimundi.
Elikai is a small raccoon-type animal from South America, who was rescued at three weeks old by Steve Rowlands, of Tropical Inc. Steve has looked after him for five months, but when he realised Elikai was terrified of trees, he decided to call in the experts.
‘Every time I tried to put him in a tree, he would get really distressed and jump straight out,’ said Steve. ‘To him, I was like his new mum but the problem was I couldn’t teach him to climb like she could.’
So, Redpoint came to the rescue. We set up some ropes in the trees, persuaded the critter into a tiny harness and bribed him to climb higher with bananas and Paula’s winning smile. The technique proved so successful we’re thinking of applying it to skittish humans.
By the time we finished, Elikai was clinging on happily. Hopefully he’ll soon be ready for the German tropical biosphere where he’ll be released.
Our day out sparked plenty of interest from the media too, with articles on the Sun’s website, the Metro, the Telegraph, German newspaper Das Speigel, BBC's Newsround and even a short spot on Chris Evans’ radio show. Silly season is evidently still in full swing!