Art by Clark Miller.
Art by Clark Miller.

Culling the ‘Chicken of the Tree’: YouTube Hunters Are Taking Down Invasive Species in the Name of the Environment

From green iguanas to wild boars to marsh rats of unusual size, America has more invasive species than it can handle. Influencers are armed and ready to help.

Art by Clark Miller.
July 9, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

Darcie Arahill started fishing at the age of 3 in her home state of Florida and never really stopped. Under the tutelage of her father, she learned to respect nature and the delicate balance of the ecosystems around her. Today, Arahill, 33, has gained notoriety as a bikini-clad “blonde babe” who posts clips on YouTube of herself reeling in everything from blacktip sharks to Florida Keys dog snappers. Her channel, Darcizzle Offshore, has amassed 383,000 subscribers since she launched it in 2014.

In Arahill’s eyes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person more passionate about the natural bounty of Florida. She’s even started trying to protect it. “Recently, in the last two or three years, I’ve been getting more into hunting and using my bow and arrow in order to remove the invasive species,” said Arahill. She is well aware that giant lizards, hissing ducks and Burmese pythons are ravaging her state, and she wants to help. “When you get rid of an invasive species in the ecosystem, you’re already doing a great job just removing it,” she said. “But I feel like catching and cooking and cleaning it, that’s also just really respecting that animal and not letting it go to waste.”

Arahill is one of a new class of hunting influencers who have shifted their focus toward culling some of America’s more than 6,500 invasive species. She is a practicing “invasivore,” someone who eats invasive species to remove them from the ecosystem, and like many other vloggers in her niche, she hopes her efforts will inspire more people to hunt and eat invasive animals.

Darcie Arahill with one of her recent catches: an invasive giant green iguana good enough to eat.
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