Raccoon dog 'trapped and humanely destroyed' in Carmarthenshire

By Alun Jones
BBC Wales Political Unit

image copyrightNatural Resources Wales
image captionA qualified vet trapped and humanely destroyed this raccoon dog

A raccoon dog sighted in Carmarthenshire has been "trapped and humanely destroyed".

Wales' environment minister Lesley Griffiths had said she expected Natural Resources Wales to "apply rapid eradication measures".

Natural Resources Wales said it had taken "swift action" following the minister's request.

The fox-like creature is native to East Asia with a similar face to a raccoon but is a member of the canine family.

Martyn Evans, head of south west Wales for Natural Resources Wales, said: "NRW has taken swift action to capture a raccoon dog in Carmarthenshire, following a recent request from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.

"The raccoon dog is an invasive non-native species (INNS) and can be harmful to our wildlife, competing with native foxes and badgers for food and shelter and predating amphibians and ground nesting birds.

"The Welsh Government has a duty under EU legislation to apply rapid measures to remove any raccoon dog.

"NRW staff worked with government officials, the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat and a qualified vet to trap and humanely destroy the reported raccoon dog earlier this week."

Dyfed-Powys Police had urged the public not to approach the animal, seen near Pumsaint, and to contact the RSPCA.

The charity "strongly discourages anyone from keeping" the "extremely smelly" animals as pets

What are raccoon dogs?

image copyrightGetty Images
  • Native to the forests of eastern Siberia, northern China, north Vietnam, Korea and Japan
  • Now widespread in some European countries due to escapes
  • Omnivores that feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, molluscs and carrion
  • The RSPCA "strongly" discourages people from keeping them as pets
  • "Extremely smelly", the charity says, as they use a scent to communicate

Source: RSPCA

Natural Resources Wales had received a report by a member of the public of a raccoon dog seen near Pumsaint, which is around seven miles south east of Lampeter, on 27 May.

They said this was the second report of a raccoon dog in the wild in Wales, after a confirmed report of two raccoon dogs having escaped near Esgairdawe, Carmarthenshire in August 2019 - neither of which were captured.

The species has previously been reported elsewhere in Britain.

The Welsh Government said last week the minister had "agreed for officials to formally request assistance from NRW to capture the raccoon dog and apply rapid eradication measures in line with the EU Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species".

In February 2019 the European Union added raccoon dogs to a List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern, which seeks to control populations deemed to be harmful to native wildlife.

Existing owners can keep the animals, but further breeding or sale is banned.

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to release these animals - or allow them to escape - into the wild because they are not a native species to the UK.

Originally from the Far East, raccoon dogs were introduced into eastern Europe as part of the fur trade.

What some people may perceive as a cuddly appearance meant until relatively recently they were openly traded as exotic pets, which the RSPCA emphasises is a bad idea.

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