Thousands of dead nutria wash ashore

Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What was originally thought as a few hundred nutria killed during Hurricane Gustav has swelled into thousands as clean-up of the dead animals continues.

Hancock County and state officials say a cleanup on the beaches near Waveland that began this week has pulled in more than an estimated 7,000 of the animals.

There have been no reports of a public health problem because of the nutria.

What began as a local and state effort is now being handled by a private contractor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The animals, imported from South America many years ago, are thought to have been washed up from marshes, barrier islands and Louisiana. They were initially found twisted up in tons of sea grass that washed ashore.