A repost from January 2006
The Monterey Herald reports on Germany's "Unwanted Raccoon Harvest":
California has had its revenge on Germany, the source of wild boars that were stocked to provide game for hunters and have since overrun the state, plowing up fields, gobbling plants and animals, and endangering endangered species.
Germany has raccoons. Lots of them, according to the Times of London. Some studies put the estimate at a million.
Times reporter Roger Boyes reported last week that "Vineyard owners across Germany are hiring bounty hunters to kill furry animals with a taste for grapes.
"Hunters are being hired to prevent a plague of raccoons with Nazi-era ancestry from munching their way through the German wine harvest."
The German wine-growing region of Kassel has become "the raccoon capital of Europe ever since Baron Sittich Von Berlerpsch released two of the animals into the wild in February 1934.
"The move was encouraged by Hermann Goering," he wrote, "the Nazi leader who, apart from being the head of Hitler's air force, was the chief forester of the Third Reich."
The first raccoons were brought from North America in the 19th century, Boyes reported, and their population grew by leaps and bounds when an Allied bomb hit a raccoon farm in 1945, scattering the animals.