- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been using dogs to track down the few invasive nutria rodents that remain in Dorchester County.

WBOC-TV (https://goo.gl/1i2dfb ) reports that the Nutria Eradication Project has been very successful since it began in 2002.

Also known as river rats, the web-footed, buck-toothed rodents were brought to Maryland from South America for use in the fur trade in the 1940s and became an invasive species around the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore.

Margaret Pepper, assistant project leader, says nutria damage marshland, which serves as nurseries for native crabs and shellfish.

Three dogs and their trainers graduated Wednesday to officially become nutria hunters.

The most recent trace of nutria was found near the Wicomico River in May by a dog and its trainer.

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Information from: WBOC-TV, https://www.wboc.com/

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