Let’s say, (and why not?) that you’re the mayor of a nice little suburb to the west of the nation’s capital in Canada. You are generally well liked, get free lattes and get an excellent parking place. When the note crosses your desk that there are some pesky beavers in a drainage pond you barely register as you pass it along to public works to take care of it. Then you go back about your business, ribbon cutting the new showroom or securing school lunches or what have you.
Then SHE pops up in your email. Anita Utas. One of those animal-hugging artists. On your phone. In your paper. On your evening news. “Save the beavers” she starts saying, spouting nonsense like wrapping trees and flow devices. A neighbor says “kill the beavers” and since its one against one and one of them agrees with you, killing wins out. You hire the trapper and that’s that. Then she’s back with friends. SAVE THE BEAVERS! They repeat! Louder! If this story sounds familiar, it should. You can reread about the Stittsville beavers here to refresh your memory.
Imagine the mayor’s surprise when they returned with the media and cameras!
You start getting mail from all across Ottawa, then all across canada, you even get something from some crazy town called Martinez California 2300 miles away! You get tired of answering the phone to angry people complaining about killing beavers. You do what any normal man would do under the circumstances. You’re no fool. You know better than to blow against the wind. You save the beavers.
For a while.
You show up for the photo op with the rodent. You accept the gratitude and adulation from the animal lovers. You post a sign over your office that says “move along, nothing to see here” and you write back all the letter senders and say ‘don’t worry’. Then you wait and bide your time until early summer when the kits have been born, pick a national holiday long weekend when everyone will be out of town, and send your goons in on a friday afternoon to rip out the lodge.
This is the email I received from Anita Utas yesterday:
Ottawa – Today, Friday, June 29th, around noon, about a dozen City workers descended on the beaver lodge at Paul Lindsay Park Pond, home of Lily and Lucky and possibly two kits that were born in May. City workers tore out the lodge and removed the branches. Nothing remains.
The beaver had not been blocking pond culverts or taking down any trees. Many people enjoyed seeing them at dawn and dusk, eating the overabundance of lily pads, which is their favourite food.
One lone beaver is trying to rebuild the home. It is not known whether the mother and possible kits escaped unharmed, or whether they were killed during the destruction.
She was away when it happened. Someone called her to the scene where there was no lodge, no sticks, and a struggling beaver trying to rebuild. What an outrage! For the first time it almost makes me feel sorry for public works. City officials make the heinous decisions and send the dirty-work-crew out to implement it and get all the blame. Somebody knew this was the lodge, and it was a great way to get rid of the beavers after you persuaded Anita to wrap all the trees so they couldn’t possibly build it again. Who ever passed along this order knew did it to get what they wanted, avoid bad press and save what matters – the drainage ditch.
For the sake of our younger readers I’m going to assume that everyone sleeping in that lodge leaped safely into the water when branches started moving. I’m going to reassure myself that those beavers, like most all beavers, had bank holes nearby they had scoped out previously and retreated there and are taking their time while they think over what to do next.
Then I’m going to write letters. You should to. They deserve massive public shame for this underhanded eviction which is so cowardly and cruel it almost makes Martinez look saintly by comparison. You can email mayor Watson here (firstname.lastname@example.org) and councillor Qadri here (email@example.com). Really. I know you’re busy, and it’s the weekend, but take 5 minuts and do it. Beavers may be nocturnal but apparently the constant application of daylight is the only thing that saves them.
Send them my regards.