The rodents have been eating away at the state’s marshland, which protect already vulnerable Louisiana from major storms. The wetlands absorb wind and rain, and help sustain wildlife, but they have been virtually eliminated by pesky nutria as their population continues to grow.
A ramped-up market for nutria meat could help the state reverse course on the destruction caused by the swamp rodent.
Marsh Dog, a dog food company based in Baton Rouge, believes its company is one of the keys in preserving the state’s marshland. It has opened a new market for nutria meat, which it then uses to produce dog treats the company is aiming to market nationally.
During hunting season, between November and March, Marsh Dog has taken advantage of the bounty on the swamp rodents — buying nutria meat from hunters around the state to produce its dog treats. The company’s president, Hansel Harlan, said the company’s plan isn’t to get rich, rather it’s to help Louisiana with a serious issue.
“[Nutria] are a herbivore that absolutely love our wetlands and devour it like nobody’s business,” he said. “By creating a market for nutria, we incentivize people to hunt the nutria, which keeps their population in check.”