It has been a few months since the recent blunder of BP and their oil spill. Now local residents are dealing with an unforeseen problem. The dreaded Nutria, an animal that used to be hunted for its fur, is now running wild, causing devastation in Louisiana. The Nutria is a semi aquatic rodent from South America. According to the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,? Semi aquatic means adapted for living or growing in or near water; not entirely aquatic (2007, para. 1). It has little ears; a spherical, rough, tail; webbed feet, and big front teeth like a beaver. It can also measure up to a meter long.
That is if you include the tail. This semi aquatic animal has a reddish fur coat, and it can live in little cave like holes called burrows that are near water such as ponds or rivers. They like to dine on plants that grow in the water (Nutia, 2006, para. 1). Nutria can also weigh up to twenty pounds (Parker, 2010. para. 2). The Nutria has played a significant role in the Louisiana fur trade industry. Back in the 1700’s fur was the major trade industry in Louisiana. The state was the main stop on the Mississippi River. The trapping and skinning of these animals helped the economy during the late1800’s up until the 1950’s.
During the 60’s and 70’s people started to become animal rights activists. Fur became unpopular, and supply was greater than the demand for the fur pelts these animals had. Do to the high prices for fur; the fur trade industry began to collaspe. What also contributed to this collapse was how cheap the Muskrat fur was going for at the time. After that had happened, people no longer need the nutria, so they let them escape into the wild (Louisiana’s Fur Industry, 2007, para. 2-7). Now, because of people’s careless releasing of the nutria into our ecosystem, they have been wreaking havoc on the local areas of Louisiana.
They have moved up from the gulf coast into local areas like rivers and ponds to get away for the oil spill that BP has caused. Do to the oil spill the nutria have become a nuissance to the Louisiana residents by eating local vegetation and farmer’s crops. The Nutria also is responsible for the destruction of nearly 1,000,000 acres of Louisiana’s wetlands. Since they are moving more inland people have reported seeing them in their yards feasting on their lawn furniture. People are now encouraged to hunt down these animals and have them for dinner to try and decrease the nutria population.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have offered five dollars a tail for these animals to help control the population of these critters. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries know that they will not be able to eliminate the population, but they hope to control it with trapping and encouraging people to eat these beaver like rodents (Parker, 2010, para. 2-14). Will James said,? To my way of thinking there’s something wrong, or missing, with any person who hasn’t got a soft spot in their heart for an animal of some kind”(Webster’s, 2002, p. 20).
The Nutria may be cute like a beaver, but they are in no way a beloved creature of the south anymore. Nutria are a semi aquatic animals once hunted for their fur, but now are hunted for food because of the destruction they cause due to the fact they are migrating towards main land and ponds because of the oil spill in the gulf. In conclusion, since authorities have encouraged the consumption of these creatures I say ?Club one over the head and have a tasty treat. ”
Louisiana’s Fur Industry. (2007). Retrieved Aug 20, 2010 from nutria: http://www. nutria. com/site8. php. Nutria or coypu. (2006). In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com. prx-01. lirn. net/entry/ebconcise/nutria_or_coypu Parker, L. (2010). Oil Spill’s Latest Villain Has Four Legs, Sharp Teeth. Retrieved Aug 20, 2010 from Aol News: http://www. aolnews. com/nation/article/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-may-finally-meet-its-match-in-pesky-nutria/19487224. Semiaquatic. (2007). In The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com. prx-01. lirn. net/entry/hmdictenglang/semiaquatic The New International Webster’s pocket quotation dictionary of the english