Kagawa: Rare White Raccoon Dog Joins Zoo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A white raccoon dog cuddles with other raccoon dogs at Shirotori Zoo in Higashi-Kagawa, Kagawa Prefecture.

HIGASHI-KAGAWA, Kagawa — A white raccoon dog is gaining popularity at Shirotori Zoo in Higashi-Kagawa, Kagawa Prefecture.

The female raccoon dog was rescued after she was found in a weakened state in Miki in same prefecture last November and taken in by the zoo in May. The zoo thinks that Bunbuku, the racoon dog, is about 2 years old. According to the zoo, the raccoon dog is not albino since she has black eyes but is believed to be leucistic, a genetic mutation that resulted in reduced pigmentation.

Katsuhisa Mino, 80, a restaurant owner in Miki, found the raccoon dog lying on the premises of his restaurant. Mino looked after her by building a shed in his backyard and feeding her dog food, apples and other food. However, Bunbuku remained restless after six months. Thinking that she might be lonely without fellow raccoon dogs, Mino asked the zoo to take her in.

Bunbuku soon became friends with the other eight raccoon dogs in the zoo. When Mino saw the raccoon dog cuddling with others and relaxing, he said with relief, “I am glad that she finally found a place to live peacefully.”

“Raccoon dogs are very cautious animals and the white raccoon dog has not gotten used to people yet. I hope people watch her quietly,” a zookeeper said.