Saturday, December 11, 2010

our bucktoothed neighbour

You may have heard the news this summer, that there were some beaver attacks on dogs in a Red Deer park. What was really heartening was that the dog owners did not side with the City and demand that the beavers be killed - there seemed to be some degree of appreciation for wildlife which was great. Unfortunately this story didn't end well, with one beaver being shot (by a lone vigilante?) but in the end the City changed its stance:

"the City of Red Deer will not remove or relocate the park's six to 12 beavers, because no beaver attacks have been reported since the weekend, said Trevor Poth, the city's parks superintendent.

"We see no need to trap or relocate any beaver at Three Mile Bend at this time," Poth said in a news release. "We will, however, continue to monitor the situation at the park and educate park users."

The city has installed more signs in the park warning people of aggressive wildlife and reminding dog owners to maintain control over their pets in the off-leash park."

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a great resource on their website providing information on a little over twenty "wild neighbours" that we may encounter in urban areas. The beaver is one of those neighbours. This is a great place to learn more about these impressive creatures!

In Ottawa, the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre can help people with beaver conflicts. An article in their Spring 2010 newsletter, details how they worked with concerned neighbours in the Graham Creek area who wanted to learn how to live with the beavers rather than trap and get rid of them. The OCWC has also worked with Fletcher Wildlife Garden to help overwinter a visitor in their pond.

The Fur Bearer Defenders (located in Burnaby) also has a campaign to help beavers:

"The main goals of our beaver campaign are to:

a) encourage local municipalities to replace cruel trapping with non-lethal alternatives
b) encourage city councils to pass legislation to prohibit cruel traps
c) raise awareness of the benefits of beavers in our ecosystem"

** Flickr photo by Keith Williams

1 comment:

  1. Beavers transform riparian ecosystems with their dam building skills. This led to their designation as a keystone species and “nature’s engineers.” With beavers at work in a creek, many more species are present than when beavers are absent.

    The ecology of the area is improved with beavers present. Fish diversity (such as salmon and trout) increases due to a larger invertebrate population which draws other mammals including mink and otter to the beaver-created habitat. Even nesting song birds benefit from the brushy growth promoted by beavers chewing on the riparian trees.

    ...North American beavers are at about one-tenth of their historic population. Allowing beavers to remain brings many other benefits, including huge economic benefits of free creek restoration. In a time when riparian habitat restoration costs are high, beavers do the work for free. They also control their own population with their presence. They tolerate only their own family group, which deters overpopulation in any one area.

    “Beavers are the best ambassadors for Martinez since John Muir, who also made his home here. People come to look for them.”

    From: Busy Martinez Beavers (


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