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.
As Spring brings “new beginnings” for the beavers, it also inevitably brings new beginnings for mankind - in the form of heightened complaint calls for roaming beavers who’ve now inconveniently “set up shop” in the wrong parts of civilization.
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.
Just as the acorn mast abundance of two years ago drove a rodent explosion last year, I’m confident the expansion in rodent presence will drive a “cyclical boom” in New England’s predatory species this year.
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.