So cute, so harmful

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

There are indeed plants and animals that have no place in Luxembourg and can cause more damage in the wild than some people realize. The Lëtzebuerger Journal spoke with the nature administration and the care station for wild animals about problems, obstacles and proposed solutions.

The eye area is black, the muzzle white rimmed. The coat is dense, long and mostly gray, the curled tail black and white. The pointed head, rounded ears, large round eyes and small paws with which they can grab and feel everything: When imagining a raccoon, most people have the image of a cute little animal in their head and also during our visit to the aviary (large cage) in the wild animal sanctuary/wildlife rescue center in Dudelange, which is currently inhabited by seven raccoons, we find the miniature bears rather cute than annoying. One climbs back and forth above our heads, another lies in a hammock and the remaining five snuggle together in stacked car tires.

What many don't know: Raccoons have no business in our neighbourhoods. "It has become so established that I don't think we can get rid of it", counters Jill Gaasch, director of the Dudelange Wildlife Care Center. It is on the invasive species list and "was imported by the Americans in the 1940s. Some were released, others abandoned, and still others ran away (probably escaped from fur farms, ed.)." In addition, it has no real enemies in our areas and has been able to spread in several countries in Europe.

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