Positive assessment of the hunt by the city Almost 60 coypus culled in the Bonn Rheinaue

Bonn · The municipality has drawn a positive interim balance on the coypu hunt: 59 of the animals have so far been shot in Bonn's Rheinaue. In October, experts counted fewer than ten of the rodents, although the actual number of remaining animals is probably higher.

A coypu in the Rheinaue in Bonn. During monitoring in October 2023, experts counted fewer than ten animals.

A coypu in the Rheinaue in Bonn. During monitoring in October 2023, experts counted fewer than ten animals.

Foto: Nicolas Ottersbach

The hunt for coypus in Bonn's Rheinaue is currently on hold, but the city believes it has been successful. 59 specimens of the invasive South American species were culled in 2022 and 2023, the administration announced in a statement in response to a question from the Left Party. The last time the population was monitored in October 2023 by experts from Lanaplan, fewer than ten coypus were recorded. However, the city thinks that the population is larger: "It is assumed that not all animals could be recorded during the surveys, as there are always animals in burrows or under water."

By way of comparison, the Lower Nature Conservation Authority counted 60 coypus in the Bonn Rheinaue during a survey in 2021. The city wanted to significantly curb the population with a feeding ban and by a cull because the animals had caused considerable damage to the banks of the newly renovated Rheinaue lake. Culling began in autumn 2022, and in March 2023, the administration commissioned the Lanaplan office to monitor the population and document the damage caused by the animals to the Rheinaue lake. The office, which had also drawn up the remediation concept for the lake, monitored the population and damage on three occasions last year. The experts discovered further damage in the Rheinauen park on the left bank of the Rhine, and new plantings on the lake would have to be secured with metal baskets.

Overall, however, the administration draws a positive interim balance: "The monitoring shows that the number of coypus has been significantly reduced." There has been no more hunting of the animals since November 2023, but the city will continue to monitor the development of the population in 2024. "It is already foreseeable that without continued management, the coypu population will grow again."

Hunting coypus without a licence is a criminal offence

The town council says that two hunters were commissioned to carry out the operation and were granted a temporary licence to do so. If a coypu was caught in one of the live traps, the hunters were informed by means of a reporting system. They then shot the animal nearby.

In its enquiry to the administration, Die Linke had also asked how the city intends to take action against poaching following the case of two young coypus that were killed at the end of October 2023. In November, the city authorities emphasised that the animals had not been shot by an authorised hunter and pressed charges. The police say the case has since been dropped because no witnesses or suspects could be identified. In its current statement, the city now declares that all persons who hunt coypus in the Rheinaue without authorisation and thus without permission are liable to prosecution. All reported cases will be brought to court.

(Original text: Christine Ludewig/Translation: Jean Lennox)

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