Japanese City Struggling With Raccoon Invasion

Raccoons are known for being trash pandas that love to gobble up whatever food they can find. Authorities in Tokyo are now struggling to deal with an invasion of North American raccoons.

The Japanese city reported the number of raccoons living in the wild in Tokyo and its surrounding areas has gone up in recent years. Around 1,282 were trapped in 2022, which was a sharp increase from 259 caught ten years earlier in 2012.

The invasive species is believed to have established a breeding population in the wild after being bought as pets and either escaping their homes or being abandoned. Raccoons had become popular pets in Japan after an animated television series called Rascal the Raccoon brought attention to the species in the 1970s.

The raccoons have been blamed for severe crop damage in the hills near the west of Tokyo. The local farm ministry estimated the animals caused a total of $2.8 million in crop damage in 2022.

Local authorities said the adaptive animals have proven to be difficult to deal with. They have even started destroying traps set out by officials.