Tokyo Is Struggling To Deal With Crop-Destroying Raccoon Invasion

Authorities in Tokyo are struggling to deal with problems caused by an especially wily invasive species: North American raccoons. The city reported that the number of raccoons living in the wild in Tokyo and its surrounding area has skyrocketed in recent years, with 1,282 trapped in 2023, a sharp increase from 259 caught just a decade earlier. The animals are believed to have established a breeding population in the wild after being brought in as pets and either escaping or being abandoned. Raccoons became popular pets in Japan after the animated TV series Rascal the Raccoon raised the species’ profile in the 1970s. The raccoons have been blamed for severe crop damage in recent years, causing a staggering $2.8 million in damages last year. Local authorities said the highly adaptive animals have proven difficult to deal with, and they’ve even started destroying traps set out by officials.