Beaver History Lesson

   Posted by heidi08 On May - 11 - 2014

Yesterday started on a very high note with Jari Osborne being interviewed for The Animal House about her upcoming beaver documentary on PBS Nature. I loved the interview, especially the part where she said “if we put a monetary value on water, the same way we do for oil, we’d be protecting these animals.” (Good one Jari!) But when the perfect interview was over, the announcer wanted to tie it in to the obliquely related story of beavers being back in the river Otter in Cornwall. So what did he say?

He said “beavers mysteriously disappeared in the 16th century. No one knows why! And now they’re mysteriously reappearing in the Otter River.”

To which I could only reply:

I wrote Jari and very politely asked if he was, in fact, HIGH. Because, honestly, saying that beavers mysteriously disappeared in the 16th century is like commenting that oil mysteriously used to be underground and now it isn’t anymore, and what could have happened to it? Or whateverever happened to all those buffalo? Or those nice Kennedy boys? They used to be everywhere and now they’re missing?

Anyway, Jari took my alarm very seriously and is going to talk to the announcer, so maybe that will be changed by the time it goes on line. Let’s hope.

Nice day at Wild Birds with lots of people asking how the beavers were doing, and lots of excitement over the upcoming special. I almost felt like the world is starting to understand the beaver message. Almost. Then I came home to find this article from Connecticut.

Beavers gnaw, trees fall at Rogers Park

DANBURY — When beavers got busy at Rogers Park, they made short work of the native poplar trees, girdling some and felling others completely.

 Nearly a dozen trees are dead or dying.  Frequent visitors to the pond reported seeing eight to 14 beavers swimming in the pond and popping up from their lodge on the pond’s west bank.

 ”I didn’t realize beavers could do this much damage,” said Danbury mom Mary Sanperi, who was visiting the park with her husband, Nicholas, and son, Nicholas Jr. “I’m very sorry to see this happening. It kind of ruins the beauty of the park.”

Where to begin. First of all if folks saw 14 beavers swimming around the lake they should call in a team of Yale researchers right away because they have clearly discovered a new breed of abundant, non-territorial beaver, and let’s not forget the outback-worthy new observers who are patient enough to count to 14 and be sure that it’s not the same beaver popping up 14 times. Second of all- honestly? Did a resident of Danbury really say out loud that it’s a shame that something natural would get in the way of all that nature? What is the matter with people?

“We have engineers looking into the problem and Public Works will dismantle the dams,” Boughton said. “We deal with this somewhere in the city every couple of years.”

HA! The only engineers you need looking into this situation have webbed back feet and they’re doing just fine, thank you very much.  You know, I thought the name Danbury sounded familiar so I went and looked it up. I wrote about their dramatic beaver-stupid a couple years ago too. Apparently they haven’t gotten any smarter during their hiatus. Now’s their chance. Look at this photo and tell me that this park could do anything better for wildlife, terrain, morale or public interest than feature some beavers? Imagine standing on that bridge and watching the family!

Beaver damming has been common in Danbury waters for generations, but it wasn’t always a problem, Mayor Mark Boughton said. Danbury became the hat capital of the country because of its abundant supply of beaver pelts.


Off to work.

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