SHANGHAI, March 25 (Xinhua) -- A research team from Fudan University has found raccoon dogs, a member of wild canid related to foxes, in more than 60 neighborhoods in Shanghai.
"Slightly larger than cats and rabbits, raccoon dogs are rather mild-tempered that might be more suitable for urban activities," said Wang Fang, a team member and a researcher of School of Life Sciences of Fudan University.
According to the team, the animal's habitats in urban areas of Shanghai include places under balconies of residential buildings, walls, storerooms, cracks in bridge piers, as well as gas pipes and abandoned sewers.
The team, together with nearly 100 volunteers, has been using 80 infrared cameras to track wild animals living in the metropolitan since 2019, mostly in green areas near water sources or sparsely populated places with a good natural environment that wildlife is most likely to show up, such as parks and campuses.
So far, nine of the 10 infrared cameras installed in Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park have repeatedly captured weasels, and the images of raccoon dogs can be seen from seven of these cameras, said the team.
"Such a large density is completely unexpected. After 6 p.m., when the park is closed, these animals would crop up from everywhere, 'occupying' the place that is full of people in the day time," said Weng Yue, a member of the team.
According to the team, the raccoon dogs have also been spotted in eastern Chinese cities of Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Wuxi.
Wang Fang said non-stop monitoring and management of urban biodiversity should be continued, with a focus on the process of urbanization, to adjust solutions in a dynamic manner.
"Cities are becoming common homes for both people and wild animals. Learning about our 'wild neighbors' and living peacefully with them are parts of a better urban life," Wang added.