As fur was still very much common in European upper class wardrobes, there were naturally more fur farms “producing” animals as the highly sought after source for this questionable luxury. But fashion requires variety, a service that local “fur donors” could no longer supply (especially since some of those pesky creatures started to go extinct).

Of course people knew how to help themselves as they started to import foreign animals which would then add to the range of possible winter coats. So far, so good, one would say – what could possibly go wrong?

Well, a typical annoyance about doing business with living and breathing creatures is that they normally do not want to die. This urge to live expressed itself in such a tragic manner that those “animal refugees” (at least those that found similar ecologic and climatic conditions to their native homes in this new and foreign land) started to become a problem for the native wildlife. You see, if you bring a foreign species to a new ecosystem, it starts to engage in a conflict with other species. Naturally, this disturbs the balance of the whole ecosystem, which sometimes leads to the extinction of other certain creatures. That’s what’s happening to the mink, an animal which already was decimated in its numbers and just couldn’t handle the competition provided by its American cousin, that is now slowly but steadily taking its place in the European wildlife.

But it does not necessarily require a distant cousin to drive a species into extinction as we can see in the example of the raccoon and the terrapin. No, this is not a classic German fable but a bloody battle for survival. You see, as the raccoon entered the wildlife, this cunning hunter found itself in the need for new kinds of prey. Luckily, the unsuspecting local animals never developed fitting defense strategies against this vicious critter, which led to a raccoon equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not only the terrapin but many more different species are now suffering under this ever growing problem, as the population of the raccoon rises and rises with no end in sight.

Of course ousting and replacing is a natural process, it’s the very core of evolution itself. But these are no natural changes in our local ecosystem but more of a disbalance created by our very own stupidity considering the inner workings of our natural wildlife. It’s time to come together and think of solutions to these problems and to correct the mistakes of the past.