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 at a vet or the nearest vet? Better not – 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.
The animals are originally from North America. In April 1934, a couple were abandoned at 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. So these thieves are widespread in many places in Germany, including in the state of Hesse. The dead samples are proof of that.
Imprisonment after castration or sterilization
However, widespread prevalence does not imply local, assure Jessen experts. 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 veterinarian in Gießen, which hardly takes in 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 this 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 discovered West Nile virus in raccoons and raccoon dogs. In one percent of human cases, the infection they cause can affect the nervous system and can 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.