Louisiana’s red-state approach could provide a valuable lesson in handing this invasive species.
California is facing a new immigration crisis, this time in the form of large, swamp-dwelling rodents called nutria. Golden State officials are actually asking for help to deal with this unwanted population.
Wildlife officials are asking California residents to report any sightings of nutria — an invasive rodent that eats so much aquatic vegetation that it threatens wetlands and marshes.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it is trying to eradicate the rodents from the state because once established, nutria could cause loss of wetlands, damage to agricultural crops and levees, dikes and roadbeds.
It says more than 20 nutria have been found in wetlands, rivers and canals and in Merced, Fresno and Stanislaus counties.
Apparently, the nutria’s life consists of eating and mating. They can consume 25 percent of their body weight each day in vegetation, and a female can give birth to up to 200 offspring each year.
“We have traps out. We’re setting traps. We have trail cameras,” Tira said. “We’re really asking for the public’s help to report sightings so we can get a handle on the extent of the problem.”
Nutria are native to South America, and they were introduced to California in 1899 for their mink-like fur.
Wildlife officials believed they were eradicated from the state in 1978 but now think a colony may have stayed under the radar and only recently reemerged.
Nutria (also known as coypu) originally hail from South America. The species was introduced to the United States when Louisiana livestock entrepreneurs decided to farm them for fur in the 1930s. The attempts proved unsuccessful because the wily beasts tended to escape easily.
California officials may wish to review the way Louisiana has been dealing with their nutria problem, albeit in a typical red-state manner. The bayou-centered “Sportsman’s Paradise” offers $5 for every nutria tail brought in by intrepid hunters. Given how eagerly the homeless in California collect cans and bottles for the recycling fee, the swamp rats would rapidly go on the endangered species list.
Additionally, the Cajun cooks have perfected various recipes for this invasive species. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries asked the state’s chefs around to prepare nutria in a variety of ways, in hopes of sparking interest in the under-appreciated meat. Chef Philippe Pavola of Philippe’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge demonstrated one of the recipes in this video:
If these red-state solutions are too red for the People’s Republic of California then state officials might be able to rely on a native Californian to handle the nutria.
A Westlake Village, California, family recalls the terrifying moment a mountain lion tried to get into their home through a back door.
“It was kind of scary because he was kind of not wanting to leave and he charged into the window, what? Four times?” Sammy Kerr-Jarrett said.
Sammy, 8, and his mother Nadine Young were stunned when the wild cat suddenly appeared on their back patio of their home Sunday night.
“He was going to put the dog out and he freaked out and said, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy, there’s a puma! There’s a puma!'” Nadine said. “I had no idea what he was talking about. I’d never seen one before. I went to the door and low and behold there’s a huge mountain lion right there, trying to get in.”
The dog was safe this time, but I am sure the mountain lions would find nutria tastier snacks.DONATE
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