It is not a raccoon; it is a "raccoon dog". In Japan they love them, but in Sweden they want to eradicate them... | Spanlish

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Monday, August 14, 2017

It is not a raccoon; it is a "raccoon dog". In Japan they love them, but in Sweden they want to eradicate them...

It-is-not-a-raccoon-it-is-a-raccoon-dog

The tanuki, better known as 'raccoon dog’, is a Japanese icon. While in the country of the rising sun is seen as an amulet of fortune, present in the entrances of houses and commercial premises, it seems that Sweden has raised the foot of war against this adorable little animal. In the Nordic country they talk, paradoxically, of an invasive species that must be eradicated because it is destroying the country's biodiversity.

apanese-tanuki-amulets
Japanese tanuki amulets.

The tanuki is one of the oldest wild dogs in existence, a carnivorous mammal from the canid family and from Asia, which reached the west through some regions of the former USSR in the 1940s, where it was marketed with its skin. Many of these specimens were lucky enough to escape, entering countries like France, Poland, Romania, Germany, Denmark, Norway or Sweden.

The problem is that this tender animal has become a danger to the Swedish ecosystem, because it feeds on everything it can: mammals, birds, reptiles, mollusks, fish, amphibians, carrion, mollusks, and even garbage. Therefore, where there are raccoon dogs, there is a risk of extinction of other species important to flora and fauna.

In fact, in Spain it is forbidden to have a pet tanuki as it has been classified as "invasive alien species" ,  due to its colonizer potential and constitute a serious threat to native species, their habitats and ecosystems.

On the contrary, in countries where it is permitted, the raccoon dog acts as a pet, although its character is more like a badger or a fox than the dog.  It is a fugitive animal, timid and nocturnal, but nothing aggressive and has an adorable appearance.


That is why many have a divided heart. The Swedes, however, overcame this moral dilemma years ago and have it clear: control their population, eradicating much of it, or they will end up with other species.

Thus, as reported by the Spanlish in 2016, Sweden has embarked on a real crusade against the raccoon dog:

“On the main routes between Sweden and Finland there are cameras that can detect tanukis when they arrive in the country." 

Groups of volunteers from the Swedish Hunting and Wildlife Management Association hunt them mercilessly , tracing the areas in which they live and using "Judas animals" - raccoon dogs that have been trapped, sterilized, tagged and released - by the way Of bait, with the intention of locating and hunting larger groups.

Hunters-use-the-raccoon-dogs-Judas-as-a-strategy-to-eliminate-invasive-species
Hunters use the raccoon dogs Judas as a strategy to eliminate invasive species.

Per-Arne Ahlen, director of the Swedish project to eradicate raccoon dogs, commented that this modus operandi has not met with any opposition:

“Not even animal groups are against what we do, because we are protecting nature for our grandchildren, we are protecting animals that will disappear if we have raccoon dogs in southern Sweden. Conservation biology is not always pretty, it's not always beautiful."

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