Hakai Magazine

Coastal science and societies

Fearless

What happens when island raccoons live free of predators? A lot. And it’s not good.

Authored by

Directed by Jude Isabella
Produced by Gord More

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Raccoons are cocker-spaniel-sized creatures native to the Americas. Normally, raccoons are mesopredators—animals in the middle of the food chain—part of an ecological niche they share with other medium-sized omnivores, such as skunks, badgers, and foxes. But on some of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, raccoon populations have no natural predators and no fear of becoming another animal’s lunch. Follow ecologists Mike Clinchy and Justin Suraci in the field as they study the effects of raccoons foraging in the intertidal zone, barely watching for danger as they rip apart countless crabs and other prey species.