Beaver in the woods

— by Ann Loyola — I opened the door to a large conference room full of men in uniforms. It was my first Upper Snake Beaver Coop meeting in Idaho Falls and I had no idea what to expect. About 22 forest rangers, wildlife and fisheries biologists, Fish & Game wardens, and others were passionately talking about Idaho’s dwindling beaver population and measures being taken to improve this particular habitat. My assignment was to remind everyone that EFI has specially built ponds available to help with translocation of Castor canadensis, and to learn about any changes in related regulations. Translocation efforts, drainage studies, and outreach to property owners and trappers were all...

-- by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. -- A call came – can we take a baby beaver? Yes. When it arrived it was tiny – close to a newborn. It was crying piteously. There was no one in the state available to care for it except us and we did our very best. Jean used his special energy to try to infuse life force into it, spending hours trying to get her to take a bottle. I had a special pouch made so that I could carry her with me close to my beating heart for the sense of companionship so crucial to beavers. We put fresh and crushed willow with her for a familiar smell in case that would give her ease. Despite our best efforts, research, vet care, the baby beaver didn’t make it. The last two...

Beaver eating leaves in a pond

Beavers are charming and fascinating creatures. Dr. Donald Griffin, the father of animal cognition, notes, "When we think of the kinds of animal behavior that suggest conscious thinking, the beaver comes naturally to mind." They perform their incredible engineering feats not just through instinct, but through imitation and experience. But even more than that they are incredibly important ecologically, a fact we have belatedly recognized. Called nature’s finest wetland engineer, professional human water engineers study them for water management. Beavers reliably, and economically, maintain wetlands that sponge up floodwaters, alleviate droughts and floods, lessen erosion, raise the water...

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