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The Lakefront is Raccoon Nation

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 3, 2011 9:00PM

Some gangs take over intersections. Some hang out by riverbanks, with turf wars breaking out. The lakefront is being taken over by gangs of raccoons from Montrose Harbor on the north to Jackson Harbor on the South, and people aren't happy.

Boaters who have had to deal with raccoons living under docks and raiding their boats for food have been complaining to the Park District since last summer about the varmints. the Park District contracted a company to lay out traps when the weather began to warm and nearly 120 raccoons have been trapped along the lakefront in recent weeks. It also appears as though the raccoons are protecting their turf and being aggressive towards people. Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner says this is a public safety issue, since raccoons can carry roundworm. The trapped animals have been euthanized.

Charlotte Newfeld, steward of the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, says the growing lakefront raccoon population is our fault.

"This is all the fault of the general public that comes out and tries to feed what they think is a Disney-like creature, which it’s not,” Newfeld said. “We’ve had feeders out there, whom we’ve had police arrest, and the still continue to give them food.”

But the little bastards are so cute.