Friday, 1 June 2012

Folksy, Animated Rodent Challenges 'Invasive Species' Label

As large rodents with ratlike tails, orange teeth, a reputation for chewing up fragile vegetation and a South American origin, nutria are the sort of species that tend to earn the hostile-sounding label, "invasive species."

But now a friendly, animated nutria is challenging this notion. In a short video, created by filmmaker Drew Christie and published on the New York Times' website, a nutria living in Lake Washington, in Washington state, argues that nutria are perhaps no more deserving of the "invasive" label than humans themselves. 

"I know us nutria have a bad habit of overpopulating an area, and overharvesting the edible plants within a small area, resulting in a die-off of desirable plant species. But that sounds a lot like someone else I know of," says the nutria in the film "Hi! I'm a Nutria." He continues, "I know I am not really supposed to be here, but guess what, neither are you."

Nutria, originally from South America, were imported into the U.S. for their fur – just as the fur trade motivated Europeans to settle North America much earlier, the video points out.

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