Racoon dogs: invasive species that could threaten Uk wildlife

THE racoon puppy, for people who hadn’t listened to of it, is not a puppy, or a racoon, but something additional equivalent to a fox. Initially from East Asia, it is also known as a tanuki and is an animal that is major in Japanese folklore, reputed to be mischievous, a learn of disguise and shapeshifting, but to some degree gullible and absent-minded. Not ample of a learn of disguise, even though, to have evaded detect as a vital invasive species that could threaten to damage Uk wildlife.

They are cute and cuddly so they have a sure charm as unique animals – and on the online are traded for hundreds of pounds – but, given that 2019, it has been unlawful to buy or market 1. Generally they have arrived into the United kingdom by way of this market place. In modern several years there have been many studies of escapes and sightings of them in the wild across the United kingdom – together with 1 that was killed last year in Wales.

Why is this a difficulty?

They can potentially spread swiftly. They had been initially introduced to Europe as section of the fur trade and have considering that proliferated. In Finland, a million cubs are born every single yr, and they are held responsible for wiping out the population of toads and frogs. In a 2016 New Scientist job interview, PA Åhlén of the Swedish Affiliation for Hunting and Wildlife Administration declared,there is “not a solitary toad or frog in southernmost Finland”.

A study funded by the Section of Atmosphere, Foodstuff and Rural Affairs discovered the raccoon dog and the raccoon as the only mammals on a list of 20 invasive species probably to reach United kingdom shores and destroy indigenous wildlife or carry sickness.

They are not the only invaders we will need to be bothered about, nevertheless, are they?

No, there is also Japanese knotweed, grey squirrel, New Zealand flatworm, harlequin ladybird and numerous some others.


Browse Far more: Scots plan to get rid of invasive species to be shared globally


Dangle on. All this speak of invasive species, isn’t it a little bit xenophobic?

Real. It does look that from time to time when we discuss of alien species or invasive species, there may perhaps be an undertone of dread and hatred of the migrant. It’s value remembering that only amongst 10 and 15 for each cent of invasive species are classified as problematic.

Even though exploring his e book The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, Fred Pearce discovered “numerous destinations the place biodiversity is raising, and character is recovering, many thanks to aliens. And many additional where interlopers that were as soon as regarded as arch environmental villains are now pretty at residence and resulting in no long lasting harm”.

So shouldn’t we welcome the racoon doggy?

It does not seem to be so. In accordance to The Mammal Culture, racoon canines are high-hazard threats to wildlife. They can “impact on biodiversity, the environment and act as reservoirs for sickness, with probable impacts on human health and fitness.”

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