Could Extreme Styles Save the Louisiana Wetlands?

By: Mallory Whitfield - Published: • References: grant.btnep.org and missmalaprop
Could nutria fur fashions be the key to saving the Louisiana wetlands? New Orleans artist and designer Cree McCree thinks that they just might be a way of preventing the loss of wetlands due to the destructive habits of the invasive nutria.

Otherwise known as the coypu, the nutria were introduced to south Louisiana in the 1930s to be raised for their fur. They made their way into the wild and have been wreaking havoc ever since on the fragile and quickly disappearing Louisiana wetlands, which serve as a buffer for hurricanes and storms for communities in the area as well as a biologically diverse ecosystem.

The non-native nutria tear up and eat marsh grasses and push out native species, so local artists & fashion designers are looking to the nutria once again for their fur. McCree founded the organization called Righteous Fur to promote nutria fur as a better alternative for those who would like to wear fur fashions. Local wildlife and fisheries agents have been trapping and killing the nutria in efforts to control the population for years, so McCree and other designers see this as a way to honor the animals and help preserve the wetlands which the nutria help to destroy.