‘It was essentially the most enjoyable I’ve ever had’: Revived ‘Nutria Rodeo’ baggage 1,500 rodents | Setting

0
84

It’s been a bad weekend being a nutria in the South Plaquemines Ward.

Approximately 1,500 of the invasive, swamp-eating rodents were shot dead by a small army of hunters who came to Venice for the community’s revitalized nutria rodeo on Friday and Saturday.

“Let’s shoot some rats and save the environment,” said Gabe Macormic, the rodeo organizer, on Friday as teams of hunters turned their airboats and took off into the vast swamps at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The competition drew approximately 200 hunters from all over the Gulf Coast to Iowa. Cash prizes were awarded for most of the kills and the heaviest individual nutrients.



Shoot nutria

Jamison Trouth, founder and operator of Yellowfin Distillery, shoots invasive nutria in the wetlands during the nutria rodeo near Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. Audubon Zoo agreed to use the nutrias to feed the animals and the proceeds went towards coastal restoration. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



“It was the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Jimmy Rimes of Biloxi, Mississippi. “We felt like we were doing our public service”

Imported from South America nearly a century ago, nutria thrives in Louisiana at the expense of the state’s fragile coastal swamps. Nutria gnaws at the roots of the plants, leaving little to hold the landscape in place. More than 13,700 acres of coastal swamp were damaged by nutria last year, and more than 40 square miles of coastline was converted to open water in the past few decades, according to estimates by the State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Nutria is one of many factors contributing to rapid land loss along the Louisiana coast. Leading causes include oil and gas exploration, sea level rise, land subsidence and the loss of refill sediment since the Mississippi was brought under control by levees.

The state offers a $ 6 bounty for each coutria tail, but the total of 246,000 last year represents only about 1% of the state’s nutria population and nowhere near the number of kills used to curb the explosive growth of the Animal are required.



Discharge nutria

Jamison Trouth, founder and operator of Yellowfin Distillery, unloads invasive nutria from his team’s airport to count and weigh during the nutria rodeo in Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. Audubon Zoo agreed to bring the nutrias for feeding. The animals and the proceeds went towards restoring the coast. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



“We aim for 400,000 crops, but we usually only get about half that,” said Jennifer Hogue-Manuel, manager of the nutria control program at Wildlife and Fisheries.

The state has failed to revive interest in nutria fur. Efforts to promote nutria meat in New Orleans restaurants have also failed.

Macormic, a native of Mandeville who runs a medical cannabis farm in California, sees nutrient damage from frequent fishing and duck hunting trips throughout southern Plaquemines.

“They eat all the plants until there is no bank. Just a drop, ”he said. “That lets the salt water in and kills everything else.”



Nutria damage

Water flows onto the exposed muddy banks, an area ideal for spotting invasive nutrients, near Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. The Audubon Zoo agreed to deliver the nutrients from the Nutria Rodeo take to feed the animals and the collected proceeds went towards coastal restoration. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



The closure of Mardi Gras celebrations and the lack of activity amid the coronavirus pandemic fueled the rodeo’s rebirth. The rodeo was an annual tradition in Venice until about 10 years ago.

“Me and a couple of friends wanted something that was fun and started talking about the rodeo just to our group,” said Macormic. “And then it started to develop and grow.”

Macormic received $ 8,000 in prizes, t-shirts, and other event expenses. He agrees not to get much of his money back, but plans to seek sponsorship and other support next year.



Nutria pile

Participants of the team named Nutrializas add nutrients to the pile that goes to the Audubon Zoo to feed the animals during the Nutria Rodeo at Venice Marina in Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. During the 2 day rodeo. The proceeds went towards restoring the coast. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



By early Saturday afternoon, only about 400 dead nutrients had accumulated on the Venice docks, causing Macormic a twinge of concern that his event might be a bit broke.

“But then they came in and really dumped, sometimes 200 nutria at a time,” he said. “It was something else.”

Most of the hunters worked in groups of four. Teams with airboats that can glide over water as well as swamp had a clear advantage over other ships.



Hunting Nutrients in the Plaquemines Parish

Jamison Trouth, founder and operator of Yellowfin Distillery, and Paul Cozic, Hell Diver and Body Recovery Diver at the Blake Terry Foundation, stand ready in front of Captain Walter Heathcock’s airboat during the Nutria Rodeo near Venice, La., Saturday. February 27, 2021. Audubon Zoo agreed to use the nutrients to feed the animals, and the proceeds went towards restoring the coast. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



A team led by a hunter from Venice who prefers to be known only as “Captain Stinky” received the $ 500 prize for the most kills. Her 200 nutria record was partly thanks to Stinky’s familiarity with the area.

“He’s a legend down here,” said Macormic.

The heaviest nutria, which won the $ 1,000 grand prize, weighed just over 20 pounds.

“She was definitely fat,” said Macormic.



Weigh nutria

The main master and charter boat captain, Jonathan Landry, weighs invasive nutria for the toughest nutria competition during the nutria rodeo at the Venice Marina in Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. Audubon Zoo agreed to provide the nutria Feeding the animals and taking animals The collected proceeds went towards the restoration of the coast. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



The end of the event was an evening nutria litter. The participants took a carcass from a pile and let it fly. The winning throw cleared 93 feet.

Almost all nutria go to the Audubon Zoo, where they feed the alligators and other animals for a long time.

Macormic promised to organize the rodeo next year and could add some new events. A nutria meat cook-off is a likely future addition, he said.



Throw nutria

A nutria is thrown during the women’s nutria throwing competition during the nutria rodeo at Venice Marina in Venice, La., Saturday, February 27, 2021. The first place winner of the female nutria throwing competition won $ 300. Audubon Zoo agreed to take the nutrients from the rodeo to feed the animals, and the proceeds went towards restoring the coast. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)



Even if 1,500 nutrients stop hatching and eating in Southern Plaquemines, Hogue-Manuel said the rodeo’s body number does not sustainably affect the state’s ever-growing nutrient population. But, she added, the rodeo could have value if more people thought about the health of the coast.

“It’s a big problem that we need to address,” she said. “Hopefully events like this will make people interested in the problem and understand the harm nutria is causing.”

SHELL POINT – This watery wilderness of purple-blooming swamps is so vast and so inaccessible that few people see how much of it is dying. B …

Snakes, turtles, rabbits, nutria, turkey eggs, turkey babies, baby trees.

Louisiana’s premier wildlife agency is in such deep financial hardship that it will take the unprecedented step of reforming state law …

Purchases made via links on our website can earn us a partner commission