Sweden says open season on raccoon dogs

Sept. 4, 2009 at 3:03 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Officials are urging Swedish elk hunters to shoot on sight any marauding raccoon dogs they might come across.

The Swedish National Environmental Protection Agency has declared open season on the animal, which is related to dogs, wolves and foxes though it resembles a racoon, and is described as a pest comparable to the American mink or the Spanish slug, The Local reported.

It's a known carrier of tapeworm and rabies, and can threaten a species of birds.

Swedish authorities have in recent years led a successful fight to keep the raccoon dog population, which is indigenous to China, Korea and Siberian Russia, to a minimum.But a new threat has emerged after more than 20 recorded sightings of the animal in neighboring Denmark.

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