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Old Apr 1, 2011, 2:41 PM   #1
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Default Surprising Discovery - Raccoon Dogs in Shanghai !

Wild mammals in Shanghai - wonderful ! Today I went back to my favourite birding haunt - Shanghai Zoo - to see if I could find the Hoopoes again (no luck - too many people as tomorrow starts a public holiday). Instead I amazingly found 3 Raccoon Dogs, happily living in the wooded areas of the zoo.

I should explain, Shanghai Zoo is an incredibly interesting place, not like any other zoo I've ever been to. There are more areas set aside as huge public fields, copses and ponds than there are for the exhibits ! You should be able to see this in the plan below.

Instead of my usual spots I decided to walk around and see if there were any other areas I hadn't yet explored. There are little tracks and paths that lead you to the most unexpected places, canals with a felled tree across it, wild overgrown ponds and walks through 10 metre high bamboo which you exit onto yet another small private field.

However where the Raccoon Dogs had set up home was not even in one of these secluded areas - it was on the bank of a canal, 35 metres to a zig zag wooden bridge on the left, 70 metres to a small humped back bridge on the right, 50 metres to a public pathway , through dense woods, behind them and with the canal and a high hedge shielding them from a children's horse riding track in front. See the two location shots below.

The only way the Raccoon Dogs could be seen was from the Zig Zag bridge - if you knew what to look for or were just downright lucky or if you pushed through the hedge on the opposite side of the canal, and there was no obvious reason for anyone to do that ..... so I just got lucky. I got their attention for these shots by, I guess we can call it the mammal version of 'phishing' for birds, just by emitting a few high pitched squeaks and smacking sounds from pursing my lips ! The stood up to see what the strange sounds were then promptly settled back down to enjoy their sunbathing again.

Hope you enjoy this amazing discovery at least a little bit as much as I did !

#1 - Plan of the Zoo



#2 - The view from the Zig Zag Bridge. Can you see the Raccoon Dogs ?



#3 - The view from opposite their home - after pushing through a high hedge.



#4 - Home ! Yes, up that water culvert.



#5 - Shock ! This Blackbird was in for the fright of it's life when they spotted each other ! Good for a size comparison.



#6 - Spotted !



#7 - Debate



#10 - Warning ?



#11 - Alone



#12 - Carefree



Finished sunbathing for the day they headed back home whilst I was working my way around to the opposite side .... until next time, the pups should be born in April or May !
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Last edited by Frogfish; Apr 1, 2011 at 2:44 PM.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 4:47 PM   #2
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Cute little guys. Great photos from an equally great photo op. Well done, Kevin.

However, I caution anyone who is sensitive to the way animals can be mistreated, not to pursue further information on these on the internet, as the way they are exploited for fur and food can be truly discomfiting.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 9:19 PM   #3
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Hi Kevin,

Great captures!!!

Penolta's right. I'm sure there's no possibility of a problem from members, but Google searches regularly turn up threads in specialty fora like this, so could be found by anyone.

Great find and Very well done!

Scott
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 9:45 PM   #4
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Great photos. Are these animals common?
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 9:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
Hi Kevin,

Great captures!!!

Penolta's right. I'm sure there's no possibility of a problem from members, but Google searches regularly turn up threads in specialty fora like this, so could be found by anyone.

Great find and Very well done!

Scott
Scott - What I meant was that some members might not be comfortable with some of the information they might find - I would think these dogs should be safe from poachers in the confines of the zoo grounds, but like you I generally do favor not disclosing exact locations of sensitive species.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Absolutely outstanding series, Kevin! Hopefully, they're safe from poachers and such.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 10:19 PM   #7
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Thank you Penolta ! I didn't even know what these were until I looked them up and you're right the fur trade is very disquieting however the Wiki page is interesting to learn about the species : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon_Dog

Thank you Scott !

Thanks Mtnman ! Not uncommon in the right locations I would think. They are endemic to North East Asia but have been successfully introduced to Europe and are now regarded as a pest in some areas. A major food source for Wolves it seems ! However I have never heard of, seen, or even read about these animals in 15 years of living in China, so not that common !

Thank you very much Gary !


On the subject of safety of these particular animals (I would not post specific locations unless I was very confident they are safe from potential poachers) : they are in what is (until you get off the tarmac pathways) a very popular & crowded zoo - there is no way anyone could take or trap an animal without being seen (as is the case with almost anything you do in Shanghai - people everywhere at all times of day and night - hence the lack of graffiti) ! The second point is that poachers would be uneducated Chinese ... who don't read English and the Chinese search engines don't find foreign websites unless you are specifically looking for them (you know like we can do with Google - search in English or other languages).

I should also note that the three ladies who clean the horse riding area know they are there - they told me they catch & eat some of the cats (there are thousands of wild cats in Shanghai) they care for (they have bowls of fish scattered around behind their shack for the cats) !
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 10:34 PM   #8
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They are so cute! What a wonderful find.
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Old Apr 2, 2011, 2:49 PM   #9
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Great series, what gorgeous animals.
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Old Apr 3, 2011, 4:25 AM   #10
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Thanks Harriet.

Pleased you enjoyed the series Rodney !
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