Despite a looming state-wide trapping ban, millions in funding continue to be thrown at a growing nutria invasion. In a year’s time, California’s “nutria eradication task force” has set up 487 camera stations, conducted 1,600 camera checks and administered 995 trap sets. Farmers in San Joaquin Valley have donated five tons of sweet potatoes to be used as nutria bait, according to media reports.
City officials in the Riverside neighborhood of Chicago have announced warnings of distemper outbreak in the area’s raccoon population - and the hazards posed to residents, as well as non-vaccinated pets.
I’ve always been personally fascinated with the adaptability of fur bearers such as skunks and raccoons. In the aftermath of the raccoon’s “great migration” to man’s urban meccas, it’s almost hard to believe they ever inhabited the wildernesses of rural America at all - man was once a rural beast as well.
Word on the street says that hunting is on a national downward trend. That “word” clearly hasn’t reached the hillside haunts of New Hampshire, as thousands of Granite State hunters and trappers still take to the woods each spring and fall to take part in the outdoor pastimes that have been integral to rural New England life.
Collectively, we don’t seem to be shocked by the presence of other wild species such as raccoons, skunks, and opossums roaming the back alleys of concrete and brick - but the coyote’s presence seems to catch the attention of the public and professionals in far greater numbers; and far greater curiosity.