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Raccoons and cartoons an agriculture time bomb

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  • The Rascal raccoon saga is a textbook case of allowing an invasive species in through the front door.

On farms, raccoon damage is increasing. “In some parts of the country, they invade cattle farms, where they feed on the same corn that gets fed to cows, and find safe spaces for reproduction in the tall grasses of grazing pastures … The animals damage crops across the food pyramid: corn, melons, strawberries, rice, soybeans, potatoes, oats, and more.”

Japan’s raccoon buyer’s remorse is not without precedent. Germany imported raccoons in the 1920s, hoping to feed the pelt market through a breeding program. The scheme backfired in 1934 — a few were released into the woods for hunting fodder and after only a few years of breeding, the hunters couldn’t keep up. As in Japan, raccoons are now permanent residents in Germany — over 1 million strong.

The Japanese raccoon saga is a textbook case of allowing an invasive species in through the front door — or maybe right through the television set.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @CBennett71

Email me: cbennett@farmpress.com

 

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