Nyctereutes procyonoides 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Canidae

Scientific Name: Nyctereutes procyonoides
Species Authority: (Gray, 1834)
Common Name(s):
English Raccoon Dog
French Chien Viverrin
Spanish Perro Mapache
Taxonomic Notes: There are six recognized subspecies: albus, koreensis, orestes, procyonoides, ussuriensis and viverrinus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Kauhala, K. & Saeki, M.
Reviewer(s): Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Hoffmann, M. (Canid Red List Authority)
The Raccoon Dog has been widely introduced. It is now widespread in northern and eastern Europe as well as in its native East Asian countries. Abundance is unknown in the Far East outside of Japan where it is common. The species is not considered threatened at present.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The historical distribution of this species was the Far East, from northern Indochina to the southeast corner of Russia, also in Mongolia. In the Japanese Archipelago, the species was confined to Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Awaji island, Sado island and other islets of Japan except those south of Kyushu (e.g., Okinawa islands, Nansei islands, Miyako islands and Ogasawara islands). There has been a recent introduction in Yakushima island (S. Azuma pers. comm.)

Today, the species has been widely introduced. It is now widespread in northern and eastern Europe, thriving in moist forests with abundant undergrowth. The northern limit of distribution lies in areas where the mean temperature of the year is just above 0°C, the snow cover about 800 mm, the duration of the snow cover 175 days and the length of the growing season 135 days (for example, in Finland the northern limit of permanent distribution is between 65°N and the Arctic Circle). If winters become milder, the raccoon dog may expand its range northwards.
Countries occurrence:
China; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Mongolia; Russian Federation (Amur, Central European Russia - Introduced, Chita, East European Russia - Introduced, Khabarovsk, North European Russia - Introduced, Northwest European Russia - Introduced, Primoryi, South European Russia - Introduced); Viet Nam
Austria; Belarus; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Slovakia; Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine
Present - origin uncertain:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abundance is unknown in the Far East outside of Japan where it is common. Population estimates have never been
conducted in the latter country, but indirect indices (e.g., road-kills per km of the National Expressways and harvest
density per prefecture), suggest that relative abundance is high in south-western parts of Japan (i.e., Kyushu, Shikoku, and Chugoku) and low in Hokkaido, Chubu, and extremely urban areas (M. Saeki and D.W. Macdonald
unpubl.). See also Sillero-Zubiri et al. (2004; Table 5.4.2).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Two features are typical of the habitat of Raccoon Dogs: 1) they are often found near water; and 2) during autumn they are more or less dependent on fruits and berries, which affects their habitat selection. In Japan, Raccoon Dog habitat includes deciduous forests, broad-leaved evergreen forests, mixed forests, farmlands, and urban areas from coastal to subalpine zones. In the countryside, the species prefers herbaceous habitat and uses less Cryptomeria plantation throughout year, while riparian areas are often used (M. Saeki and D.W. Macdonald, unpubl.). In urban areas, Raccoon Dogs inhabit areas with as little as 5% forest cover. In the Russian Far East, the Raccoon Dog favours open landscape, especially damp meadows and agricultural land and avoids dark forests (Judin 1977).

In the introduced range, Raccoon Dogs favour moist forests and shores of rivers and lakes, especially in early summer (Korneev 1954; Nasimovic and Isakov 1985; Kauhala 1996). In late summer and autumn, they favour moist heaths with abundant berries (Morozov 1947; Kauhala 1996). In the Finnish archipelago, however, they favour barren pine forests where they feed on crowberries (Empetrum nigrum) (Kauhala and Auniola 2000).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Road kills, persecution, government attitudes, epidemics (scabies, distemper and rabies) and pollution (organtins, lead, PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs) remain the major threats to the species across its range.

The Russians introduced Raccoon Dogs into the wild in the European part of the former Soviet Union because they wanted to establish a valuable new fur animal in the wild. Raccoon Dog furs continue to be commercially sold, although today they are produced in fur farms. While the species is still commonly farmed for fur in Finland, Raccoon Dogs are no longer farmed in Sweden (J.-O. Helldin pers. comm.) or Hungary, where the last fur farm was closed in 1995 (M. Heltai pers. comm.). In Japan, Raccoon Dog fur is also used in the production of calligraphic brushes, stuffed animals, and other products.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Not listed in the CITES Appendices.

Raccoon dogs occur in national parks and other wildlife protection areas in Japan, where hunting and some other activities are prohibited. Raccoon dogs occur in national parks also in Finland (although they are hunted in some parks). Elsewhere across their range, they occur in numerous protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries.

In many countries where the Raccoon Dog is legally hunted, hunting is permitted year round (e.g., Sweden, Hungary and Poland). However, in Finland, females with pups are protected in May, June and July, and in Belarus hunting is allowed from 1 October to the end of February. In Japan, hunting/trapping of the species requires a licence or other form of permission and can only occur within the designated hunting season (November 15 to February 15). The raccoon dog on Mukojima island (18.4 km²), Hiroshima prefecture, is designated as a natural monument under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, and permission from the Director-General of the Agency of Cultural Affairs is required for capturing the animals on the island.

There have been no conservation measures developed for the raccoon dog to date.

In Japan, around 40 zoos hold captive animals and successful breeding has been reported (e.g., Kobe Municipal Zoo). Captive raccoon dogs still exist on fur farms in Finland.

Citation: Kauhala, K. & Saeki, M. 2008. Nyctereutes procyonoides. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T14925A4475530. . Downloaded on 26 June 2016.
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