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Nutria Rat

Nutria Rat

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Posting ads for 49 years
It saddens me almost beyond words as I read of the slow death of Alligator Bayou.

I don't wish for this letter to seem as an advertisement, but it is most difficult to curb my enthusiasm when writing of Alligator Bayou and the folks there who have nurtured this wonderful habitat.

My family and I have taken the tour at least a half-dozen times, bringing with us guests from as far away as Germany and Canada, to relatives and friends from out of state.

In fact, it is always the first place we take visitors to Baton Rouge.

I never tire of watching their faces as they gaze upon the beauty of Spanish Lake at sunset or as they touch a living 800-year-old bald cypress tree or how words fail them as they come within a few feet of the business end of an alligator more than 15 feet in length.

I have taken countless photos of each of them holding a young alligator, petting an adorable cross-eyed old possum and posing next to a rather unattractive orange-toothed nutria rat.

And after my guests return to their homes, the thank-you notes I receive fill me with pride as they write of the beauty of Louisiana and the memories they shared with their disbelieving friends.

The notes always have a familiar theme as they describe the reactions of their friends upon seeing the photos.

"Yes, that was a real alligator I was holding." "No, the photo is not altered.

It really is that beautiful in Louisiana as the sun sets on the lake and silhouettes the cypress trees and the Spanish moss." "Yes, the old Labrador retriever really did board the tour boat and rode along with the passengers." "Yes, the nutria really is eating a lollipop." (The last comment could only be understood by those who have taken the tour.) Alligator Bayou is nothing short of a treasure.

It has always astounded me how this much beauty and adventure was just minutes from Baton Rouge.

The tour is spectacular.

It is light-hearted and indisputably entertaining, yet educational and very informative.

The flora and fauna are breathtaking.

The passion in the voices of the owners is genuine as they speak of what they have worked so hard to create and preserve.

I always leave with the distinct sense that it is much more than a business to them; it is their life, just as it is, or was, for the countless wildlife within this very delicate ecosystem now forced to seek new homes in an effort to survive.

How in the world can this local treasure be allowed to be simply drained away? Dale Ulkins lab manager Baton Rouge
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