Archive for the ‘Beaver Rehabilitation’ Category

Friendly protection

Posted by heidi08 On September - 15 - 2017Comments Off on Friendly protection

camilaHere’s two very nice ways to get a jump start on the weekend. The first is news that our good friend Camilla Fox of Project Coyote is now working with the Center for Biological Diversity to sue Fish and Game. Here she is with a volunteer working at the beaver festival in 2012. We always like days that start out like this.

State wildlife agencies sued over commercial trapping program

Two national nonprofit advocacy groups sued the California Fish and Game Commission and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife this week, claiming the two agencies have improperly managed and illegally subsidized the state’s commercial trapping program.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Project Coyote claim thousands of coyotes, foxes, badgers and other fur-bearing animals are trapped in California every year so their pelts can be sold overseas.

The advocate groups claim in their lawsuit that the California Fish and Game Commission and state Department of Fish and Wildlife have illegally diverted up to $500,000 since 2013 to subsidize commercial fur trapping in the Golden State.

The California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are two separate entities. Established in 1870, the California Fish and Game Commission is billed as the first and oldest wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries.

I didn’t even know that there was a State Fish and Game Commission. They are the folks at the county level that gave us our grant last year. In fact they’re hosting a bbq this weekend that Cheryl is attending to show off what we did with their money. I can’t tell from the article how they’re saying the agencies subsidized trapping but I’m very interested in this idea. Wait, there’s a clearer article in the LA Times yesterday. They say the taxpayers end up subsidizing because the fees for trapping licences are so low. They’re saying if they charged trappers what it actually cost the system, the fur trade would die in California. Hmmm that’s interesting.

Lawsuit aims to end commercial fur trapping in California

“We hope the filing of this lawsuit will be remembered as the moment California said goodbye to the handful of people who still kill mammals so that their pelts can be auctioned off in foreign markets and then made into slippers and fur-trimmed coats,” she said.

It may be unpopular, but I’m not going to invest a lot of energy in fur trapping. That is not the cause of the overwhelming number of beaver deaths. Depredation is the BIG killer in California. I would spend money suing the the state over that.

(I’m having a fantasy right now about what it would be like to have enough money to sue CDFG in a drought year after counting all the beaver depredation permits and calculating how much water they would have saved if they had been allowed to live!)

Of course my favorite lawsuit against CDFG involved beavers, was won at the appellate level and happened 18 years ago with our friend Mitch Wagoner in Riverside county. Ahh Memories!

Meet the Baby Beavers, Squirrels and Ducklings Saved During Harvey

The second treat to start the weekend is this from the Wildlife Center of Texas, who has its share of rescues after hurricane Harvey. The article is definite eye candy and you should check it out, but I thought this was particularly wonderful.

The good volunteers at WCT are working hard at the moment so go here to donate.


Kits dislocated by Hurricane Harvey: Wildlife Center of Texas

Before the curtain rises…

Posted by heidi08 On February - 14 - 20172 COMMENTS

Things are starting to take on a pre-conference craziness. I dreamed last night our beavers were living between two Killer whales at Marine World and I hired Skip to come build some kind of protection for them. When I woke up he had just told me he needed a permit to start work and I was worried how I was going to approach the city without letting them know the beavers had come back.

This morning I got an email from Paul and Louise Ramsay that they were passing near Martinez on the way to Canyonville and they’d love to visit. In addition I got an email from Gerhard Schwab of Germany that he and Duncan Haley were planning a trip after the conference and they’d love to see Martinez and our stomping grounds.

Apparently we’re a beaver flop house.

I suppose things could will get weirder the closer we get too departure. I am already so sure of a snowy drive that we have stooped to trading cars with my mother for the week. (Subaru vs. Prius) We’ll be right on the Umpqua river in nearby Tiller so I’m hoping we won’t be flooded or snowed out!  Hopefully, all will be worth it when the vast mysteries of beavers unfold before our eyes and ears at the conference.

In the meantime there are beaver tidbits too grand to pass up on the menu. First from Tallahassee FLORIDA where it never never ceases to amaze me that beavers and alligators are neighbors.

Orange Avenue construction threatens otters and beavers

Drivers should take caution as construction along Orange Avenue may pose danger for otters and beavers in the waterway underneath the road.

Animals attempt to cross the street to get to the other side of the creek, but due to a cement barricade blocking the area where they try to go around, they get run over by passing cars, said Melissa Ward, a local resident who first saw a beaver dead near the construction site three weeks ago. A week later, an otter met a similar fate. Ward said her mother has seen eight beavers dead in the past few weeks.

As if we needed ANOTHER reason to hate those cement barricades in the middle of busy streets. What on earth are animals supposed to do when they run into one of those? Just jump really high? I realize running into one is probably dimly better than running into a car going the opposite direction, but I’d much rather run into something soft and let wildlife cross safely. Jon was once saved very nicely by all that bottle-brush they tore out to replace with concrete.

A few fun items, one from the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival parade this weekend in New York.homepage logo

The Canoodlers, who wear old-fashioned orange life preservers and do dance routines with wooden canoe paddles, dress as beavers for this year’s parade. They won second place in the competitive independent walking group category, edging out the ever-popular Lawn Chair Ladies. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter

Heh heh heh. Let that be a lesson to you. Be careful of you might end up like this very foolish looking man who dances with canoe paddles.

The beaver that lives in trees

I think it safe to say that everyone knows that beavers live in water, leaving its safety only to forage on land or to sleep inside a lodge. While they eat both aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants, through much of the year, especially in winter, much of their diet consists of the bark and twigs of trees, especially poplar.

Beavers aren’t alone in their fondness for poplar. In the rodent group, there resides another species that also eats bark, twigs, and opening leaves of poplar. Porcupines eat woody material and, like beavers, possess a long intestinal pouch full of bacteria to digest cellulose. Unlike beavers, however, porcupines don’t cut down trees to access meals. They climb trees using their impressive climbing gear: huge claws and rough-skinned feet.

Apart from starvation and falling out of trees, Porcupines face another challenge. Some are shot by humans because they damage trees; others die when they cross highways or stop to glean salt from the asphalt. Porcupines are slow moving animals built for climbing, not running, and thus are prone to being hit by cars. They need not run from predators because they own a powerful defence: modified hairs known as quills.

In the vast history of our natural life, Jon and I have come across only a single porcupine that was hit by a car in the Sierras. Which doesn’t mean our paths haven’t crossed. I was fascinated to read in Dietland Muller-Swarze book that beavers are the only animal where the female young are recorded to disperse greater distances than the males – except for one other. You guessed it, the porcupine. As winter is a great time for spotting them keep your eyes pealed for these “Tree Beavers”.

But there is one silly image out there that is soo foolish I can’t even bring my self to write about it at all. Even if I did, I’m sure you know every single thing I would be likely to say. If you’ve spent any time on this website at all you’ll know IMMEDIATELY where this is. And if you’re new I’ll give you a clue. It starts with a “B”.

Listen to your Elders

Posted by heidi08 On February - 1 - 2017Comments Off on Listen to your Elders

I was surprised to come across this yesterday in my search for donations. I hadn’t seen this site before and knew nothing about it, which is rare for beaver news so close to home. Thinking about the Tuleyome website from yesterday, I suspect similarities. The two names aren’t actually linked anywhere I can find, but their location is, and the websites are very similar. Either they have the same technician or they are staffed by a handful of similar people.

Either way, I like them.


The Elder Creek Oak Woodland Preserve is a private preserve soon to be protected by conservation easement that encompasses 233 acres of primarily steep hills of blue oak woodland containing dozens of old-growth manzanitas. This preserve is located in the Elder Creek Watershed, which covers about 150 square miles and ranges in elevation from over 8000 feet to about 250 feet above sea level. Over 72 miles of streams and creeks make up the watershed, making it one of the longer ones on the west side of the northern Sacramento Valley

What we do to encourage beavers on Elder Creek:

• Never kill beavers and encourage others to join us in protecting them.
Regularly comment to California Fish and Wildlife to prioritize restoration of beaver populations.
• Build small, beaver-like check dams and baffles in the creek in mid- to late spring (depending on flow).
• Leave cottonwood and willow along the creek, occasionally removing dead wood and coppicing some of the willow.

Imagine stumbling across a website like this by accident! I can assure you it made my afternoon.

According to Westbrook, 85 percent of all watercourses in the United States — and a comparable, though unquantified, percentage in Canada — are headwater streams and, therefore, small enough to be dammed by beavers. This continent-wide network of fine blue lines represents a wealth of potential beaver habitat. “We’re talking about beaver in nearly every headwater stream across North America prior to European colonization,” says Westbrook. (from Canadian Geographic)

Beaver streams resulted in:

  • Reduced stream sedimentation and erosion
  • Stream temperature moderation
  • Higher dissolved oxygen levels
  • Overall improved water quality
  • Increased natural water storage capabilities within watersheds, including recharge of ground water aquifers
  • Reduced stream velocities, which means a decreased number of extreme floods
  • Removal of many pollutants from surface and ground water
  • Drought protection through increased year-round stream flow
  • Improved food/habitat for fish and other animals, including 43% (according to one source) of the endangered species that the US Department of Fish and Wildlife is mandated to protect

All these benefits from one little rodent! (Or several million, actually) Beavers are proudly promoted by our new BFF’s at Elder Creek Preserve. Thank you for doing this important work sharing the beaver gospel. Let’s hope is saturates Woodland and begins to sink into Sacramento. (And I mean both the region and the governing bodies it houses.)

On monday we were contacted by a beaver supporter who wanted to donate her grand mother’s old beaver fur coat for us to use in education or rehab. Certainly it’s nothing we have ever considered for ourselves. I have always mocked a very widely used and un-admirable activity folks practice in schools of allowing one student to ‘dress up like a beaver, with a fur coat, goggles and flippers’ to teach them about their adaptions. We would never do that as it seems way more stunt-y than teach-y. And why not teach kids the amazing things about beavers while you have their attention?

But it occurred to me maybe we could teach about the fur trade and the toll it extracted on our streams and wildlife? We never really tried to do that kind of education at a festival, but why not? And maybe while we’re at it teach the martinez story and our creek response with series of display panels folks can look at their own pace.  I have been working on a graphic we could use for a poster with the display. trappedI will say, that Jon and I were both very surprised how soft the coat was. I always imagined beaver as more wiry. And you can definitely see how protective and thick it is. You can’t even see where the individual hairs separate.  It also occurred to me that orphan beavers in rehab might like to snuggle up to beaver fur, so I’ve asked our beaver rehabber friend if that’s true and we will consider donating it to Sonoma where they do most of the beaver rehab work.

We like fur coats best of course ON the beaver, but it might be okay to put it to good use now.