Hi! I’m a Nutria

I’m sure many of you readers have seen this biocreative new animated film Hi! I’m a Nutria by filmmaker Drew Christie, which came out this week in The New York Times (click here to watch)In the film, a Nutria (a large semi-aquatic rodent, originally from S. America) attempts to hold a mirror up to humans by asking how long it takes for something to become ‘native’? While some aspects of the video might strike one as kind of funny (the Nutria is talking with the viewer via mental telepathy, for example), it actually introduces some very profound biological and philosophical questions about introduced species in a fun and creative way. We also learn a lot about biology – the geographic origins of the Nutria in S. America, how this species got to North America, how it differs from some of its other mammalian relatives like otters and beavers, and why some people consider it an invasive species about which something must be done. In essence, this is a very Loraxian film, in which Christie attempts to get the viewer to see things from the perspective of the persecuted species that is unable to speak for itself in real life. You can enjoy more of Drew Christie’s illustrations on his website, www.drewchristie.com.