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Life MICA aims to reduce coypu and muskrat population to a manageable size

In the Life MICA project (Management of Invasive Coypu and muskrAt in Europe), the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), along with its project partners, is looking for solutions to detect muskrats and coypu better and faster.

Banner LIFE MICA - smart cameras

Through the European Life MICA project, smart traps with camera detection will be set in the coming years. These traps will only catch coypu and exclude any bycatch. DNA is also used from the environment as a check on a successful control campaign.

MICA: what and why?

Invasive non-native species such as the coypu and the muskrat pose a threat to biodiversity. They cost society millions of euros every year. The animals feed on roots of rushes and reeds, and dig into dikes. This causes serious damage to the environment. As dikes are affected, endangered species suffer and there are safety risks to people living in low-lying areas.

Purpose of the project

LIFE MICA is an international collaboration with the goal of reducing muskrats and coypu to a manageable population. Both rodent species must be eradicated from our territories to avoid damage to dikes and damage to biodiversity. The project thus focuses on preventing and controlling damage to biodiversity and ecosystem services from invasive exotic species. This will allow ecosystems to recover, dikes to maintain their strength and water safety is secured. This also means there is no further damage to crops.

Low population densities are making it increasingly difficult to capture the last muskrat, thus increasing the effort per catch. The new techniques that Life MICA is putting forward could greatly change our operation and help us detect muskrats, even at low densities, more efficiently.

Pilot projects

The objective of the project is to conduct pilot and demonstration projects. These will develop a number of best practices and new techniques to make muskrat and coypu control more efficient.

VMM's rat control officers are being deployed in 4 pilot areas to test the new techniques and methodologies in the field. We are doing this in close consultation with the INBO and the other project partners. Meanwhile, DNA has been collected for population mapping, tens of thousands of images from wildlife cameras have been collected, read and screened and, of course, regular muskrat and coypu control is still running at full speed.

Role of the VMM

The VMM controls both muskrats and coypu in Flanders and is doing this so thoroughly that both species have practically disappeared in large parts of Flanders.

More information on LIFE MICA »



MICA in Europe

Life MICA is carried out on behalf of the European Commission within the LIFE Projects programme led by the Waterschap Rivierenland. The implementation of the project involves several partners from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. As such, the project is also promoting international collaboration and knowledge exchange in the field of muskrat and coypu control.


Flanders Environment Agency (VMM)

Flemish Institute for Nature and Forestry Research


Chamber of Agriculture in Lower Saxony

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research


University of Amsterdam

Union of Water Boards

Waterschap Rivierenland

Start date: autumn 2019 – End date: autumn 2023

VMM contributes to the international policymaking and the implementation of environmental obligations.

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Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) covers three main areas: water, air quality and climate (adaptation).