Refuge ties 'gator hunt permit to killing invasive rodents
NEW ORLEANS - At one national wildlife refuge in Louisiana, hunters who want to go after alligator must first kill 500 invasive rodents that threaten the wetlands where both live.
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge Assistant Manager Brian Pember says it helps keep prolific nutria under control at the 4,200-acre refuge in southern Terrebonne Parish. He's taking applications for two, two-year permits.
Nutria are 12-pound, web-footed rodents with orange buck teeth and rat-like tails. They eat wetlands plants down to the ground. Until Louisiana began a bounty program, they ate out an estimated 80,000 acres of wetlands a year. Officials say a $5 bounty on nutria tails has cut that to less than 4,200 acres a year.
Pember says that, rather than having separate programs for nutria and alligator, the refuge has tied them together since 1998.