Coypu in the River Lee

  • 23 Jun 2017

There has been a recent sighting of a Coypu in the River Lee. The animal was spotted from the footbridge behind the Kingsley within the past couple of weeks. 

This is a highly invasive non native mammal which is in the group of species which must be dealt with immediately, and with priority, if and when they are recorded in Ireland. It looks like a beaver (3-7kg, 1m head to tail in length), has dark fur with lighter ends, a white muzzle, a long cylindrical tail and small ears. It has distinctive large orange-yellow incisor teeth that are usually visible, and webbed hind feet.

A small number of these animals (2-3) were accidentally released on the Curaheen River (near the greyhound track) approximately 2 years ago. Efforts have been ongoing to eradicate these animals, and to date 10 animals have been caught and removed from the Curaheen River, indicating that they are successfully breeding. This new record is the first for the Lee and indicates that the animals have spread further than was previously known within the catchment. This is a serious issue, as the animals are highly invasive, and cause significant damage by burrowing into the river banks causing collapse, and by clearing natural river vegetation (they are herbivores).

The School of BEES is working closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to learn more about these animals and in order to limit their spread.

If you are walking along the river at lunchtime, please keep your eyes open for this animal. Contact the local wildlife ranger Mr. Danny O’Keeffe (087) 247 2264, or Fidelma Butler (021-4904648 ) if you see one of these animals. Locations of concern are along the Lee River around the Kingsley, and the Curaheen river, but the animals may have spread further. If you do see one, please try to get a photo and keep a record of the location.

For more information on Coypu, please click on the link below.

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