Problems caused by invasive species: nutrias are spreading in Germany

Nutrias, also known as coypu, belong to the non-native invasive species.

Problems caused by invasive species: nutrias are spreading in Germany

Nutrias, also known as coypu, belong to the non-native invasive species. The coypu are multiplying rapidly in Germany, damaging native species and ecosystems. Therefore, live traps are currently being tested, which are intended to specifically catch coypu.

Nutrias are spreading in Germany. According to the German Hunting Association (DJV), the proportion of hunting grounds in which the rodents are found more than doubled from 2015 to 2021 to 44 percent. The species, originally from South America, is now particularly widespread in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2015, one third of the hunting districts there reported occurrences, last year it was almost two thirds.

Coypu are one of the so-called non-native invasive species that were once introduced to Germany either intentionally or unintentionally. However, they can damage native species and ecosystems. Coypu are spreading in Germany mainly because the winters are milder and the animals are fed. According to the hunting association, they damage water protection dams through underground passages and destroy entire reed belts by feeding, which are the habitat of many rare species.

The coypu, also known as coypu, also feels at home in urban areas with water surfaces. In Bremen, the animals were sighted in 89 percent of the hunting districts, in Hamburg in 77 percent. According to monitoring data from the state hunting associations, the species is now represented in all federal states - especially along the Ems, the Weser, the Elbe and in some areas on the Rhine. The rodent is one of the 100 most problematic invasive species worldwide.

Affected states are obliged to contain and monitor the deposits. In the 2020/21 hunting season, which ran from April 1st to March 31st, hunters across Germany captured a total of 101,500 coypu. In a research project, modern live traps are currently being tested, which are intended to specifically catch coypu using animal recognition software.

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