100,000 beavers to be exterminated by Argentinian authorities
Authorities in Argentina have unveiled plans to entirely eradicate the beaver population of Tierra del Fuego, a province in the far south of the country.
100,000 beavers will be exterminated in the cull, which is forecast to take 10-15 years to complete.
Beavers were introduced to the region in 1946, when 50 of the animals were imported with a view to being a source for a nascent fur trade.
"They can cut down a small tree in a few hours and a big one in days," said regional conservation head Erio Curto. "We are talking about trees that are 100 or 150 years old and they do not grow back.
"They cut down trees on the riverbank so the water overflows and floods everything,"
According to official estimates beavers have destroyed an area twice the size of Buenos Aires.
In a recent documentary, Beavers: the Invasion at the End of the World., prominent environmentalist Claudio Bertonatti said: "When I saw it I was reminded of Poland after the Second World War, where all the trees had been blown away.
"What had happened? Beavers, that's what had happened."
The United Nations and environmental groups are supporting the cull, which is to be conducted by expert beaver hunters brought in from North America.
Adrian Schiavini, head of the National Strategy for Invasive Exotic Species, told Argentine radio: "The idea is to train a group of hunters and then choose the best from this group and put them to work in seven pilot areas on Isla Grande in Tierra del Fuego."