The provincial authorities in Limburg have given permission for a cull of the local raccoon population which, officials say, poses a danger to human health and can cause damage to crops and homes, the AD reports.
Raccoons are not native to the Netherlands and the population is growing, Limburg officials claim, although it is unclear how many have made their homes in the region.
Limburg province puts the number of animals at ‘around a hundred’ while the Zoogdieren association talks of ‘a couple of dozen sightings’ in the whole of the country.
However, according to a 2019 government fact sheet on raccoons no damage has been recorded so far and it is unclear if any have actually moved in. A female and four young were sighted in Merkelbeek in Limburg in 2017, the document notes.
Biologist Jaap Mulder doubts whether a cull would work. ‘The Germans tried it in 1954 but the raccoons kept appearing. It would be much better to adapt our lifestyle to the presence of this animal and make sure our wheelie bins are raccoon proof in future’, he told the paper.
The arrival of the raccoon is thought to be down to escaped animals and animals that have been released into the wild but experts don’t rule out raccoons are migrating from Belgium and Germany.
The racoon, which was introduced in Europe from North America for its valuable pelt, is on a list of so-called ‘invasive exotic species’ and subject to a European guideline which says it should be eradicated or kept in check.
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