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   Myocastor coypus (mammal)     
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         Management Information

    Feral populations of coypu are managed by shooting and trapping. Eradication is preferable for small to medium size populations but some level of control is essential in most cases if eradication is not feasible . High fur prices can help encourage sufficient hunting to control populations (Carter and Leonard 2002). In times of high fur prices little damage was observed to wetlands in Louisiana, USA (Marx et al. 2003). In 2002 a bounty system existed in Louisiana. That year a $12.5 million investment resulted in 342 trappers returning 300,000 tails over a 4 month season. Animals were shot or trapped and carcasses were either retained and sold as pelts or disposed of in the wetlands (Marx et al. 2003). Coypu have been eradicated from a number of states in the USA and are classed as pests in countries throughout the world (Carter and Leonard, 2002). A population of around 6000 coypu (Genovesi, 2005) was eradicated from East Anglia, UK in a campaign using cage traps. 24 trappers were employed for 8 years at a cost of £2.5 million (Gosling, 1989). An eradication was proposed for a small lake in Sicily but opposition by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) prevented the eradication taking place (Genovesi, 2005). An unsuccessful attempt was made to use pythons (Python rebae) as a biocontrol for coypu in Lake Navaisha in Keya (Harper et al. 1990)    


         Location Specific Management Information
    Austria
    The capture of non-captive coypu began in 1935. (Aliev, 1967; in Carter, 2007)
    Baztan River
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    Bidasoa River
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    California
    A small eradication programme was successful and the species was eradicated by 1978
    Catalunya
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    France
    Between 1974 and 1985 numbers of coypu grew, and they have been controlled with anti-coagulant poisoning. (Abbas, 1991; in Carter, 2007)
    Georgia
    When in high population densities, coypu have leveled the herbaceous cover in the marshy areas of Georgia. (Laurie, 1946; in Carter, 2007)
    Guipuzcoa
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    Honshu Is.
    In the Hyogo prefecture, an ecosystem management committee, was established in 2004 specifically to protect the endangered dragonfly's habitat and manage coypu.
    Indiana
    A small feral population of coypu created from escaped individuals from fur farms was eradicated
    Italy
    Eradication of the coypu from Italy is not considered feasible because it is now present in a large part of the country. It has even been illegally introduced in Sardinia and Sicily. The mild winter climate characterising most of Italy makes the habitat highly suitable for the species. Control programs are carried out by many local administrations, by live trapping and euthanasia of the animals. In some cases the programmes effectively reduce the level of damage. The National Wildlife Institute of Italy has recently produced guidelines for the control of the species for the Ministry of Environment (Cocchi & Riga, 2001. Guide lines for the control of the Coypu (Myocastor coypus). Quad. Cons. Natura, 5, Min. Env. - Nat.Wildl. Inst. [In Italian with Executive summary in English]). They are also carrying out a survey on the costs of management of the species, using questionnaires sent to all local administrations, protected areas, etc. It should be finished in 2002 (Piero Genovesi, National Wildlife Institute - Italy).
    Japan
    Coypu have been hunted in Japan as a control/eradication method since 1963. (Miura, 1976; in Carter, 2007)
    Kenya
    There was a failed attempt to eradicate coypus from Lake Naivasha using introduced pythons (Python rebae).
    Louisiana
    The species is feral in Louisiana, and is being controlled by trapping and by alligators.
    Maryland (USA)
    Early eradication attempts were unsuccessful, but research is currently being done to determine the best strategy to eradicate the species from Maryland's wetlands. (Carter, 2007)
    Montseny River
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    Navarra
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    Netherlands
    Coypu is considered a candidate for eradication by European agencies because of its damage of the sugar beet crop. The control method being used in the Netherlands is trapping. (Litjens, 1980; in Carter, 2007)
    Rieral River
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    Thailand
    he Thai government now views coypu as a problem, and has prohibited the further import of the species into the country. Although no official or organised control scheme has been implemented, some individuals have been eaten by the local population. (Kanwanich, 1998; in Carter, 2007)
    Tordera River
    Preparations are underway for a study of the distribution, population density and impact of the species in order to draw up a plan for its management.
    United Kingdom (UK)
    In 1962, the keeping of coypus was prohibited under the Destructive Imported Animals Act, however by this time serious impacts were being caused because of the size of the population. A trapping and research programme was also instigated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) at this time. This initial trapping campaign was unsuccessful. 90% of the Coypu population was killed off due to the extreme winter of 1962/63, but because of subsequent mild winters, there was a resurgence and population explosion. This led to a second eradication campaign being started in 1981. The second campaign benifitted from more knowledge and experience, and mathematical models were used were examine different potential trapping regimes based on population dynamics of the species. Trappers were given an added incentive of bonus payment for an eradication within 10 years (a potential problem of paying trappers a yearly salary is that they may reduce trapping efforts to ensure their payments continue). By April 1986, there were estimated to be fewer than 40 coypu left in Britain, and the eradication campagin was stopped in 1989 after 20 months had gone by without evidence of the species presence. (Gosling and Baker, 1989)


         Management Resources/Links

    2. Carter, J. and Leonard, B. P. 2002. A review of the literature on the worldwide distribution., spread of, and efforts to eradicate the coypu (Myocastor coypus) Source. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 30(1): 162-175.
    5. Genesis Laboratories, Inc. 2002. Report prepared for the Lousiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. 155pp.
            Summary: Thorough review of biology and natural history, control and socioeconomic and cultural effects of coypu in Louisiana
    6. Genovesi, P. 2005. Eradications of invasive alien species in Europe: a review. Biological Invasions. 7 (1): 127-133.
            Summary: This paper gives details about the eradications of invasive species from Europe.
    7. Gosling, L. M. 1989. Extinction to order. New Scientist, 4 march 1989: 44-49.
            Summary: Results of the eradication campaign in England.
    8. Gosling, L. M. and Baker, S. J. 1987. Planning and monitoring an attempt to eradicate coypus from Britain. Symposia of The Zoological Society of London 58: 99-113.
            Summary: Populations simulations were used to help plan a campaign to eradicate feral coypus.
    9. Gosling, L. M., Baker, S. J. and Clarke, C. N. 1988. An attempt to remove coypus (Myocastor coypus) from a wetland habitat in East Anglia. Journal of Applied Ecology 25: 49-62.
            Summary: A trial was carried out to test wether it was possible to eradicate coypu using cage trapping.
    10. Harper, D.M., Mavuti, K.M. and Muchiri, S.M., 1990. Ecology and management of Lake Naivasha, Kenya, in relation to climatic change, alien species' introduction, and agricultural development. Environmental Conservation 17: 328-336.
            Summary: Information about failed attempt to eradicate coypu using pythons (Python rebae)
    12. Marx, J., Mouton, E., Linscombe, G. 2003. Nutria harvest distribution 2002-2003 And A survey of nutria herbivory damage in coastal Louisiana in 2003. Unpublished report by Fur and Refuge Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
            Summary: Hisrory of nutria colonisation of Louisiana. Also contains a survey of damage to wetlands caused by nutria and infrotmation about the 2003 nutria harvest including a breakdown of different hunting methods in different habitats
    13. Tatsuzawa, Shirow. Department of Regional Science, Hokkaido University, Japan.
            Summary: Interview at ISSG HQ. Auckland, 19 March 2004.

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ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland