Phillip Hesser and Rona Kobell
In 1938, government officials on the Eastern Shore introduced nutria—buck-toothed, rat-tailed aquatic mammals—into the marshes. They thought the animals would help fur trappers. Instead, they destroyed marsh plants that are crucial habitat for waterfowl and crabs, as well as a bulwark against rising waters. But by 2014, the nutria were largely gone from the Shore counties that recorded large populations. How’d they do it? Discipline, determination–and some very good dogs. Maryland’s efforts were so successful that Virginia now wants to employ the same techniques to quash the spread of its nutria population.
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