Friday, 12 April 2019


On this day in 1934, forester William, Baron Sittich of Berlepsch, at the request of the animals’ keeper, poultry farmer Rolf Haag, released two pairs of raccoons into the nature reserve Edersee-Kellerwald, in what turned out to be the ideal environment for them—several earlier attempts to introduce the North American export to Europe having failed.
The forester’s effort to “enrich the native fauna” was not exactly sanctioned as official permission from the Prussian authorities came weeks later, and raccoons have seen a rise in population climbing to an estimated million across Germany presently. The extent that the successful, invasive species (Neozoon) threatens biodiversity is a point of contention, most regarding their uncontrolled spread as disastrous, endangering native birds and edging out competition from domestic carnivores by their strength in numbers.