BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The laws of nature dictate that small guys are afraid of big guys. But once the big guys are gone the small dudes celebrate their victory by doing anything they like. This is basically what happened to raccoons after the humans hunted most of the cougar, bear and wolf population. Recently, researchers used dog recording to scare raccoons in an attempt to protect local marine species.
Raccoons are cute and cuddly, we grant them that, but they are also quite destructive. The new study performed by Justin Suraci and his team from the University of Victoria showed that the raccoon situation from British Columbia got out of hand once the local population started to hunt the indigenous predators.
Predators like cougars, wolves or bears may endanger the human population in an area, but they also play a key role in maintaining the natural balance. In the last decade, the citizens of British Columbia have taken all the necessary steps into protecting themselves against the local predators. Unfortunately, this meant that many of them got hunted by the local parties while the others were relocated to another area.
Thinking that this will solve the problem, the local population did not take into account another predatorial species which is far more invasive and obnoxious than bears or wolves.
Indeed, the raccoons are cute and even funny, but when it comes to messing around, they are the uncrowned kings of the forest. Apart from stealing stuff from our window sill, the little mask-wearing animal can leave quite a mess behind after they ate.
But this is hardly the point. According to Suraci’s report, the raccoons could also contribute to the downfall of other local species. For example, the researchers have discovered that ever since the local population relocated or killed predators like bears, cougars or wolves, the local fish, crab and worm population registered a steady decrease. And that’s bad news for those who earn their livelihood through fishing.
However even though the situation seems dim at first glance, Suraci, and his team are working on a way to reestablish the natural balance. To this extent, the team has been experimenting for several months with a recording of big mad dogs. Through this unusual experiment, the researchers wanted to find out if the sound of a big predator can determine the raccoons to hide.
The experiment was indeed a success. The two speakers mounted on the shoreline got the raccoons on the run, and according to Suraci, most of the obnoxious creatures became more alert than before. Moreover, soon after the experiment started, the raccoons left behind the habit of walking unhindered through the streets. Presently, the creatures only emerge at night and only to search for food and nothing else.
The researcher used dog recordings to scare raccoons, giving the rest of the wild species a fighting chance. Moreover, after the experiment took place, the researchers saw a boost in the crab, fish and worm population.