Why veterinarians don’t want raccoons

WDuring a walk through the local forest, walkers encounter a lonely small raccoon. The cub seems helpless on its own. What do I do? Take the petty thief with you and drop him off at a vet clinic or the nearest vet? Don’t do it – at least that’s the message from the University of Giessen’s Department of Veterinary Medicine. Because this path means a dead end for the animal. This has to do with European law.

Thorsten Winter

Business Editor and Internet Coordinator at Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

The animals are originally from North America. In April, a couple were abandoned in Edersee. According to tradition, this is due to an order from poultry farmer Rolf Haag. Their species spread rapidly – due to the abundance of food and the lack of natural enemies. Especially since raccoons escaped from fur farms elsewhere in Europe. Watching bears is widespread in many places in Germany, including in the state of Hesse. Dead samples are proof of that.

Imprisonment after castration or sterilization

However, widespread prevalence does not imply local, as Jessen experts emphasize. They explained that they are “legally subject to EU invasive animal species regulations, under which such animals pose a threat to parts of the local wildlife.” As a result, returning to nature is impossible for a raccoon. They may only be kept in captivity after castration or spaying, and then only in establishments that have a special permit to keep raccoons. This in turn poses significant challenges not only to the university veterinary medicine in Gießen, which hardly accommodates more wild animals: other facilities authorized to keep them are overcrowded.

In addition, animal lovers should think about something else. According to the university, raccoons are subject to hunting law. Anyone who takes a raccoon with them, even with good intentions, should report it immediately to the responsible hunting charterer and local police. In cases of doubt, it is also useful to go there first instead of taking the animal with you in a hurry.

The department also notes that raccoons can be carriers of pathogens that can also be dangerous to humans. According to a study conducted in April, researchers detected West Nile virus in watching bears and raccoon dogs. In one percent of human cases, the infection they cause can affect the nervous system and then be fatal. In all, the researchers found 22 different types of parasites in animals wearing the Zorro mask. Raccoons also eat red list species such as the yellow frog and the common frog.

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