Časoris
Nutria are herbivores. Source: Pixabay
Nutria are herbivores. Source: Pixabay

Why are nutria a problem?

This summer was not only characterized by heat and floods, but also by the nutria debate. What triggered it in the first place?

Nutria, also called coypu, is a rodent that lives near water. It looks like a beaver, and it can often be seen during a walk along the Ljubljanica River.

Nutria originated from South America and have been in Slovenia since the 1930s when they escaped from fur farms.

Over the years they have significantly multiplied in Ljubljana and the surroundings. Nutria are also listed as an invasive alien species.

Nutrije. Vir: Pixabay
They can have up to four litters of puppies per year. Source: Pixabay

The number of nutria have grown so much that it’s no longer possible to control the population only by regular hunting.

Therefore, the Slovene Ministry of Agriculture has devised a plan for their complete removal from the Ljubljana Marshes.

The Ljubljana bog (Ljubljansko barje) landscape park is a protected area, so we must prioritize nature conservation measures there.

Sonja Rozman, Institute for Nature Protection

“As an invasive alien species, nutria have a negative impact on native species and their living environment.”

Nutrija. Vir: Pixabay
They have characteristically orange teeth because iron is stored in them. Source: Pixabay

They will be captured using live traps and later killed by a hunter.

Such a method is selective. If another animal gets caught in the trap, it would be released.

The removal of nutria was met with strong disapproval from the public.

Experts are unanimous on the necessity of their removal from the Ljubljana Marshes – the public is less favorable. More than 24,000 people have signed a petition to preserve them.

Nevertheless, nutria trapping will begin in the next few days. It’s expected that up to twenty per day will be caught.

Do you agree with this?

Glossary

Invasive alien species are organisms that humans have brought into an environment where the species has not been present before – where it has established itself and spreads to the extent that it threatens the ecosystem, the environment, or other species.

Points to Consider

  1. Have you seen nutria?
  2. Do you know any other invasive species in Slovenia?
  3. What is a petition?

***

The original version of this article was published on September 13th.

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Dora

Adamič je diplomirana biotehnologinja, ki rada potuje po svetu in približuje znanost najmlajšim.

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Svetina is an English translator, EFL educator, and graphic designer. She is an American who has lived in Slovenia since 2008. She loves hiking and traveling with her family.

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