Saturday 23 March 2019

Park ranger forced to euthanise 'one-eyed raccoon' lurking in Cork woman's garden

The Raccoon from Macroom Photo: Neil Prendeville Show
The Raccoon from Macroom Photo: Neil Prendeville Show
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A park ranger was forced to euthanise a North American raccoon that was captured in a Cork woman’s garden.

The so-called ‘One-Eyed Raccoon from Macroom’ raised eyebrows on the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s RedFM earlier this week when Macroom resident Maureen Blight and her neighbour Karen Brennan rang in to talk about the stripey-tailed mammal lurking in their gardens.

“I don’t want him in my yard,” Ms Blight told the phone-in programme this morning.

Things came to a head on Saturday night when the raccoon ‘went for’ Ms Blight’s 16-year-old dog.

She contacted the National Parks and Wildlife Services which dispatched an officer to the house who used bananas and nuts to lure the animal to a cage.

Speaking on the radio show today, Killarney Park ranger Danny O’Keefe said the raccoon was to be euthanised on Monday night.

Although raccoons can carry rabies in their native habitat, Mr O’Keefe said the concern with raccoons in Ireland is that they are an ‘invasive’ species who don’t belong here.

“We’re not quite sure how they got there,” he said of other reports of raccoons in county Carlow in recent years.

However, he believes they got into the country under previously lax rules for the importation of wild and exotic animals and may have been kept at animal petting farms or by private owners and escaped into the wild.

In September, local residents living in Lahinch, Co Clare spotted a raccoon close to the Lahinch golf course.

Then a month later, the body of a female raccoon was found dead on Main street in Ennistymon in the Burren after being struck by a car.

Although raccoons can appear to be cute and seemingly innocuous, the highly-intelligent mammals are often regarded as a nuisance in North America for nesting in people’s attics and outbuildings as well as invading gardens and garbage bins in search of food.

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