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National Laboratory for Health Security

Carnivore Research Group

The mission of the research group is to assess the invasiveness of predatory mammals based on field and laboratory studies. We will focus on the raccoon and the raccoon dog, which are alien to our country, and the golden jackal, which is native but its distribution area and abundance are increasing rapidly. Our aim is to study the physical condition and reproductive characteristics of these species. We also aim to reveal the origin of the individuals by studying the genetic differences within the local population and among foreign populations. We will also study the dietary composition, and the prey species that may be significantly affected by the predation. We will obtain important data on individuals taken by hunting by recording the body size, by examining the internal organs (kidneys/kidney fat, reproductive organs, stomach contents) and by taking DNA samples from the animals. Field experiments will be carried out to study nest predation in raccoons and raccoon dogs. We will also create a website where observers can record raccoon and raccoon dog sightings. We will contact local authorities to obtain more information on the urbanisation of the raccoon. Based on the results, we will make recommendations on good management practices to prevent conflicts.