More muskrat was caught due to the additional control in the West

Water boards took in a total of 48,447 muskrat last year, up 8 percent from 2021. An important reason is that the muskrats have gone the extra mile, especially in the western Netherlands, because musk fungus is an ongoing problem in various places here. The captive captive captive population has dropped sharply to 1,131. These animals have already been pushed to national borders, as has the muskrat mushroom.

Water boards are working hard to combat the exotic rodents that destroy flood defenses and banks and pose a threat to biodiversity. They deploy approximately 400 specialized fighters for this. With success, because at the turn of the century the water boards were still catching about 400,000 muskrats a year. However, there will be a small break in the trend in 2022; The national figure of 48,447 is much higher than the 44,995 in 2021.

Dolph Morkins

Additional spread of fighters due to a number of water boards
This is because in areas where there are many musk jockeys, fighters have been deployed more and hunting has increased as a result, says policy advisor Dolph Moerkens of the Union of Water Boards (UvW). “This is a problem with a number of water boards, particularly in the west of the country, where we have some concerns. The water authorities, so to speak, have taken people to intoxicants. This is a conscious choice. Densely populated places must first be emptied before the decline really begins.” .

The ambition is that by 2034 there will be no viable population of muskrat in the interior. This is the case if less than 500 animals are killed each year. It’s not far away yet. In 2022, 33,358 muskrats were caught inside.

Change the picture in the border areas
According to Moirkens, the picture is changing for the water boards located in the border areas. They have to deal with two sources. They clean their population and counteract the influx from the outside. In the latter case, there is nothing they can do but immediately catch the animals in the border area. This sometimes obscures the numbers. It’s a good signal for the water boards to capture many muskrats along the border, because they prevent the animals from moving into the rest of the country.”

Muskrat (Photo: UvW)

Moerkens gives the example of the Rijn en IJssel water board, which has recently been experiencing a larger influx than Germany. The impact of droughts in previous years is noticeable here. If there is no water in the waterways, there is no intoxicant. Now you see them invading again.”

Moerkens doesn’t see the influx of liqueur from Germany diminishing anytime soon. There are local actions out there, but it’s still a big deal. It is controlled by bounty collectors who do it in their spare time.”

Coypu has already been pushed to national borders
Regarding coypu, the situation seems more favorable. The Netherlands no longer has its own population, because the kibo had already been pushed back into the national borders in the past. In 2022, the water boards recorded 1,131 capes, a decrease of 17 percent compared to 2021. More than 95 percent of the catch is along the German border.

Coypu (photo: UvW)

Mürkens: “Despite the huge overpopulation of Germany, we have succeeded very well in catching calves on the frontier. We seldom find a quip anywhere else in the Netherlands. This is also what we see as a future for liqueur girls.”

Use of new hunting techniques
Water boards are looking at new technologies and ways to further improve control. Such as the detection of muskrat and coypu using environmental DNA (eDNA). The Water Boards Consortium, Water Board Rivierenland and the University of Amsterdam are working on this together with Belgian and German organizations and knowledge institutions under the European Life MICA project (the acronym stands for Invasive cyopu and muskrat management in Europe).

Morkens: “This is the last year of the project. Until summer we still have activities in the field to detect muscats. We started with random samples using eDNA in the entire working area in Wetterskip Fryslân and in the northern North Holland.” This, combined with observations of predators, gives a picture. more accurate. “Sometimes it is emphasized that there are no muskrat mushrooms in a particular area and other times the animals are tracked down.”

Introducing the Smart Cage
Intelligent fishing cage has been developed in recent years. This catches muskrat and koyo alive, while photo recognition prevents the valve from closing on other animals. The cage has now been entered, Moerkens says. “The smart hunting cage is now being tested in our country as well as in Flanders and Lower Saxony.”

Moerkens points out that it takes time to get used to the fighters. “In a regular cage, the trap closes when an animal stands on a starting board, after which the magnet is released. Smart cage technology is more complex because the cage is electronically controlled and has a camera. There are many components that can cause malfunctions. Problems not solved This teething yet, but it’s a promising technology.”

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