For me, the most powerful part of the state of the beaver conference, was hearing Sherri Tippie talk about stumbling into her role as the top beaver relocator in the united states. For nearly a quarter of a century, Sherri has been the go-to voice on beaver relocation. In the past few years she is more interested in beaver management than relocation, and when consulted she first talks about flow devices, wrapping trees and installing beaver deceivers. Her pragmatic affection for these animals – and willingness to have her life completely transformed by them – both thrilled me and made me feel deeply relaxed. When I wasn’t shedding tears or covered with goosebumps at her talk, I felt strangely like a child falling asleep in the back of the car — completely assured of security and knowing the adult in the front seat would get me home safe.
Beavers and their advocacy are in good hands with Sherri. I thought the best way to share the experience was to give you your own. Accept my apologies for the audio but you don’t want to miss this.
Sherri still considers herself a hairdresser by trade, and doesn’t charge for relocation. She works closely with state parks and fish and wildlife and has generally earned a reputation as both compassionate and competent. She has a literal bastion of friends and supporters that she teaches to operate hancock traps and monitor flow devices. Her book on ‘Working with beaver’ was recently published by the Grand Canyon Trust and is an inspiring, practical read and a major achievement.
Several times during her talk she spoke about being personally affected by the beavers in her temporary care – an injured animal that had stood up to say goodbye upon release – a badly treated beaver that a zoo had rejected as ‘vicious’ that came to love and trust her almost immediately. Sherri said firmly that she always tells beavers what she’s going to do before she does it, and they almost always calmly cooperate. She emphasizes that each beaver is an individual, with unique habits and preferences.
Sherri uses both experience and intuition in her work with beavers. She said when you’re trapping beavers you can’t do anything else, because you have to be there the next morning without fail. She remarked that she used to use apples to lure beavers into the hancock traps, but found the drive in her small car with a gaggle of gassy beavers a little uncomfortable. Now she covers the traps with leaves, so that the beaver can calmly enjoy a meal while he’s waiting for her arrival. She described having a ‘feeling’ about how many beavers were in a colony, and when the last member of the family was trapped. Interestingly she said the father was often the first, and often found with kits in the cage.
Mom was usually the last.
if you need more proof of her startling attention and compassion for these remarkable animals, I just received a note from her about the ‘beaver valentine’ saying:
Just opened this. Thank you so much!! What a perfect beaver. Hey, is it just the beaver I’ve seen or have you noticed how they sort of hold their little finger up when they’re holding or eating something?
My goodness, I hadn’t noticed that before. but you’re absolutely right! Thank you for your courage, compassion and common sense. The world is a much better place with you in it – and not just for beavers.