The Wildlife Ecology Institute has recently announced new research being conducted to dive into the ‘rat’s potential role as an indicator species for wetland quality in the Great Lakes Basin. Researchers are reviewing multiple sources pertaining to muskrat population data, such as state trapper reports and counts of muskrat huts, and comparing those data sets with that of wetland quality, and additional sensitive wetland-wildlife species.
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.
Yet another state has been the lucky recipient of the “traveling bobcat circus” that seems to be making its North American Tour. “Cat fights” over bobcat hunting have recently bubbled to the surface in New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana - just to name a few. It now appears we’re on the “West Coast leg” of the show - with California and Colorado facing demands for restrictions from similar players.
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.
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.