At the Kervilon farm, on the island of Bréhat, Marion Adjust has observed a lot of damage to her crops for two winters. Blame the rabbits? Or coypu, as hunters have been warning for a few years? It’s hard for the organic market gardener to make sense of things… Until she discovers the myocastor in the middle of tasting her salads. “They also eat apples that fall to the ground,” observes Marion Adjust, also a municipal councilor.
She got into the habit of protecting her crops with nets. But the proliferation of the species threatens the island and its ecosystems in the long term: destruction of private vegetable gardens, development of potentially fatal diseases that can be transmitted to humans such as leptospirosis, nibbling of the banks… In the environment committee, the decision to act is made quickly.
22 individuals captured in one month
After joining the FGDON (Federation of defense groups against harmful organisms in Côtes-d’Armor), the town hall launched a trapping campaign on 20 October. A dozen traps are scattered around the island. “We place bait there, such as carrots or apples,” explains Marion Resolve. Éric Grison, municipal policeman and Didier Daigre, the president of the local hunting society, are in charge of monitoring the traps and killing the animals, sometimes transformed into pâtés.
In one month, 22 nutria have already been captured, “which means that there are many others”, Marion Regler book. “The president of the hunters was himself very very surprised by the first results of this campaign. It was time for us to take charge of this problem which will continue, ”warns the municipal councilor and market gardener.
Because if the trapping organized on the island proves its worth, the coypu will be able to continue to develop in the 27 islets of the archipelago. The species being particularly prolific with a litter of twelve young per year and per couple, which will be fertile the following year, its extinction is unlikely.
“We will have to live with it”
“We will have to live with it. The trapping campaign will allow us to realize the extent of the phenomenon and to regulate a little bit, but we already know that we will have to organize other captures. The tracks of coypu are easily spotted: they create lava flows in the grass and their droppings are recognizable. The hunters will alert us,” says Marion Resolve.
For the market gardener and elected representative, if this fight against coypu was necessary, it remains “anecdotal” in the face of the other challenges that the island will have to face in the future: the rising waters, the spread of invasive plants such as hogweed Caucasus or pampas grass. “We see many imbalances, it’s scary,” she says.
letelegramme Fr Trans