Louisiana makes a deal with a family to keep domestic nutria

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (AP) — After a big public outcry, state officials now say they will allow a Louisiana couple to keep a 22-pound nutria, a rodent with beady eyes, orange teeth and a rat-like tail that is commonly considered a wetland. a harmful pest is like a pet that frolics with his dog, cuddles up to them in his arms and swims in the family pool.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a Friday statement that Myra and Danny Lacoste are allowed to apply for a permit so they can legally keep Nutria Natey in their New Orleans home, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. . Montuse said the details of the permit are being finalized.

The announcement came after more than 17,000 people signed an online petition demanding that the state leave Neity and his family alone.

“I think that’s a good conclusion for all parties,” Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montuse said.

The rodent has been living with the Lacostes for more than two years. The Department of Wildlife initially said on Thursday that it arranged for the animal to be transported to the Baton Rouge Zoo, citing a state law that bans possession of the coypu, which is considered an invasive species. But after the response, the department provided special conditions allowing the family to keep the nutria as a pet within the law, the newspaper writes.

“We are beside ourselves with delight,” Myra Lacoste said.

Danny Lacoste encountered an injured animal in 2020 when his siblings died in traffic. He and his wife fed the animal by hand until it learned to eat on its own. Then they were raised as a pet.

Now the animal has become a social media star, seen in TikTok videos and in the New Orleans Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate video lovingly held by Danny Lacoste as he runs across the floor with a towel and munches on raw crayfish. . Lacoste told the newspaper that Neiti even likes to ride in a car with his head out the window.

Mira Lacoste said she and her husband agreed to several terms, including regular veterinary checkups and keeping the animal in a cage when they visited the family fish business in order to keep their pet.

The story goes on

Nutria were introduced to North America over a century ago and are considered a nuisance invasive species in Louisiana. Their appetite for wetland vegetation and their burying in dams hinder flood control, damage agriculture, and contribute to the loss of coastal wetlands. At various times, state officials appointed rewards for them and encouraged hunting them for their skins and even food.

They are sometimes ridiculed as “nutria rats”. However, they have also become such a familiar part of the Louisiana landscape and lore that the New Orleans minor league baseball team once used costumed actors as caricatures of the creatures as mascots, Boudreau and Clotilde.

Now that the ordeal is over, Myra Lacoste said, “We really want to hug him and kiss him.”

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