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Atlanta zoo welcomes pair of raccoon dogs

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta zoo is welcoming a new pair of raccoon dogs.

The 2-year-old brothers, Loki and Thor, recently joined Zoo Atlanta from a wildlife park in Italy. Raccoon dogs are native to eastern Asia with some populations having been introduced in parts of Europe.

They are also known as tanuki and are named for their resemblance to raccoons, not because they're a close relation. They belong to the same family that includes coyotes, wolves and domestic dogs. But they're the only canids that hibernate in the winter.

The species isn't currently classified as endangered, but their numbers have been declining in recent years in Asia because of human encroachment and commercial hunting for fur.