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Sweden fears swimming Danish raccoon invasion

Clara Guibourg · 23 Aug 2011, 12:49

Published: 23 Aug 2011 12:49 GMT+02:00

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Game wardens are concerned that the invasive species’ rapid expansion in neighbouring Denmark may soon cause them to brave the waters of Öresund, and swim over to Skåne, reported Sveriges Radio (SR).

The water separating Sweden from Denmark isn't enough to protect the former from the invasion.

“They’re good swimmers. And besides, they could also use the bridge as a possible crossing. But neither the open sea nor high waves are going to scare them off, Bertil Nilsson, wildlife officer at Skåne’s County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen), said to SR on Tuesday.

Rabies, tape worm and destruction of wetlands wildlife are some of the threats associated with the otherwise rather cute raccoon dog.

“In Finland the large wetlands areas are all but emptied of ground-nesting birds and frogs,” said Nilsson, pointing out that over 100,000 raccoon dogs are shot in the neighbouring country every year.

Cameras have been in place along the Swedish-Finnish border for some time now, and have now been installed by Öresund as well, to monitor the threat from the west.

“It’s really very serious, they’re spreading very quickly in Denmark,” explained Nilsson.

The newly installed cameras have made a surprising revelation: when searching for raccoon dogs, large numbers of raccoons were also discovered.

Raccoons are not indigenous to northern Europe, but are considered an invasive species after the four raccoons set free by Herman Göring in 1930’s Germany proliferated into the country’s current figure of over one million animals.

Story continues below…

The invasive species has now clearly established itself in Denmark too, meaning that Sweden is but a brief swim away.

“We’ve seen from other places that the raccoon is happiest in cities, where food is plentiful. They’re happy to rummage through garbage cans, so it has a big chance of surviving here,” said Nilsson.

“There’s nothing wrong with the species. We just don’t want them here,” said Nilsson to SR.

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

13:26 August 23, 2011 by Borilla
Still killing wolves (just lying about it) and bears. Now they want to add the raccoon.Why is it that nature followed its course with these species doing quite well until our environmental "experts" decided that they should fix things by killing these animals. Oh well, sounds familiar doesn't it? "There is nothing wrong with ["them"]. We just don't want them here."
13:41 August 23, 2011 by engagebrain
rabies, tapeworm, destruction of wetlands, elimination of ground dwelling birds & frogs.

whats not to like Borilla ?

Wolves and bears are indigenous, meaning the rest of the ecology has worked out how to coexist.
14:28 August 23, 2011 by stillwatersrd
Aren't there far easier ways for an 'invasive' species to hitchhike into a country than swimming?
14:40 August 23, 2011 by gabeltoon
By all means keep out the racoon dog and the racoon they are a very distructive species .They were never known in europe or scandinavia before.KEEP RABBIES OUT.
15:07 August 23, 2011 by Svensksmith
Most likely they will be given citizenship.
15:32 August 23, 2011 by eppie
So since the 1930 4 animals became 1 million and they are still only in Denmark? Why after more then 80 years would they start making the journey to Sweden all of a sudden?
15:33 August 23, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
Awww, but they're awfully cute, and they most likely won't be shooting people in Southern Sweden.
15:38 August 23, 2011 by Little Moo
Yeah, every man in Sweden must carry a gun just in case raccoon invaders will swim from Denmark. We should be ready for the ultimate fight: man vs raccoon. We may have the technology, guns, poison, fire, chemicals, but raccoons have so beautiful eyes, so it's very hard to say who is going to win. Anyway, I'm glad that all the major problems were solved and we finally have to deal with the raccoon threat now.

More on my blog: http://littlemooinsweden.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/great-danger-at-swedens-borders/
17:08 August 23, 2011 by Jill Karlsson
What is a "racoon dog"? Raccoons and dogs do not cross breed. If what is meant are dogs that enjoy hunting raccoons, that would include most dogs, most specifically hounds, although my little schnauzer likes to "tree a coon" as much as my beagle does. Why do I know this? I live in Tennessee. Please don't wage a war on the dogs. They are the best defense against a raccoon invasion....and don't leave your garbage outside.
19:21 August 23, 2011 by Imperor
Jill: Try Googling "Raccoon dog" (Mårdhund på Svenska)!

Only problem with that is that it's coming into Sweden from Finland, not Denmark...
19:24 August 23, 2011 by conboy
I think the racoon on the right has a better hair style than the one on the left!
19:34 August 23, 2011 by Imperor
Wolves are apparently the major predator of Raccoon dogs! ;-)
21:07 August 23, 2011 by me_i_sverige
btw, isn't it unfair to shot them for not having residence permit of Sweden! Why not deport them back to Denmark or Finland? btw, what about special nordic union residence? I guess they can legally cross Öresund bridge and have fun in Skåne ;)
21:19 August 23, 2011 by Smokebox
Looks like it's time to call up all the weekend warriors to report to the Swedish navy...
23:24 August 23, 2011 by johan rebel
Why are Swedes so hysterically afraid of rabies?

It maybe news to the good citizens of Sweden, but billions of people live in coutnries where rabies is endemic, yet they don't all hide in cellars and attics sucking their thumbs and clutching their security blankets.
02:45 August 24, 2011 by Tanskalainen
A racoon was found on a Skane beach this morning wearing a Danish uniform.
07:25 August 24, 2011 by karex
@ johan rebel

I think it's because with much trouble and I suspect expense, rabies has been erradicated in Sweden. Dogs here aren't vaccinated unless they have to be (show dogs that go overseas, for instance). Once they are, they have to test regularly for the antivirus for the rest of their lives. This incurs extra expense for the owners.

I agree with #12. If wolves hadn't been wiped out of Europe there probably would be no racoon problem at all.
11:17 August 24, 2011 by Taxlady
I heard these racoons were members and had Nazi party affiliations. Now we should write a book about them. Does anyone have up to date information on this?
16:00 August 24, 2011 by Twiceshy
As a dog owner in Sweden, I wish these raccoons came here and spread rabies indeed.

That would make life so much easier... I would vaccine my dog and then be able to travel everywhere without quarantines, inspections and what not.
16:40 August 24, 2011 by zeulf
@ Karex Wolves certainly keep down the population of competitive animals, but they co-exist. I do not think Rabies is a good thing, Rabid fox and Raccoons will attack almost anything including People, and the cure is many Needles.
12:01 August 25, 2011 by conboy
No problem the authorities will hand out free needles!
18:30 August 25, 2011 by valhallaarwen
Do like we do here in Louisiana, catch them and eat them. Hunt them down.
15:31 August 26, 2011 by tadchem
Perhaps the raccoons that reach Sweden could be persuaded to teach Al Gore's polar bears how to swim.
07:34 August 28, 2011 by redfish
If it were norwegian raccoons it would be ok, ,but danish raccoons are unacceptable.
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