There were two news stories yesterday that touched on the history of this blog. One of them was positive so we’ll do that last. The other is less positive but I’m at least happy that the reporter wrote me back this morning and apologized for not asking US first. Ahem.
WALNUT CREEK — An injured beaver discovered recently in a Pittsburg parking lot near Kirker Creek may have lost its sight, according to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience.
When the Contra Costa County Animal Services Department brought the 35-pound male beaver to the Lindsay on Oct. 18, the animal was lethargic and staff believed he may have suffered head trauma and an injured jaw.
The medical team had been monitoring the beaver’s condition, administering pain medication and treating him with antibiotics for minor injuries.
Two days after the beaver arrived at the Walnut Creek hospital, however, Lindsay staff discovered that the animal could not see, which may be a temporary side effect of the head injury, said Elisabeth Nardi, associate director of marketing.
If the beaver is permanently blind, he would not be able to survive in the wild, she added.
Typically, the Lindsay receives only one or two of the large rodents per year, but this is the fifth the nonprofit has cared for in 2017. Wildlife experts are not sure why so many beavers are venturing from their lodges into areas with people.
One theory is that the beaver population has grown.
The heavy rains that soaked the Bay Area last winter produced lush vegetation for the toothy animals to eat, so more kits may be surviving.
A second hypothesis is that people are encroaching on the animals’ habitat.
“We have had the better part of 10 years of drought and the human population in the Bay Area has increased and spread out more during that time,” said Amber Engle, Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager.
First of all, stop spouting theories about the population growing and ask the REAL BEAVER EXPERTS at Worth A Dam. Sheesh.
I actually heard about this poor little guy thursday morning from Cheryl, who was alerted by their vet. But this particular unconsulted beaver EXPERT doesn’t think it has anything to do with the population growing. (!) This wet winter and spring was terribly hard on beaver families. Flooding dislocated them all over, not just in the Bay Area. A beaver that is suddenly without family or home is disoriented and confused. He or she can easily wander into a public area, get hit by a car, and wind up in rehab.
This beaver’s dislocation is NOT storm related. And he sounds sick. The blindness makes me think of our very first sick kit. Remember that? He was picked up swimming in circles and they discovered at Lindsay he was blind.
After he died a necropsy showed that he had brain damage caused by round worm parasite that was responsible for his blindness.
And for goodness sake don’t euthanize a beaver just because he’s blind. Put him some farmer’s pond or backyard and let him find his way. Beavers have routines,their eyesight isn’t good anyway, and it he had a reliable food source he’d be fine and figure things out on his own. Two thirds of beaver life is probably spent sightless anyway – underground or underwater.
Go here to donate and remind Lindsay that caring for sick beavers is Worth A Dam.
Better news comes from Southern California at the site of the big bruhaha nearly two decades ago. For newer readers Lake Skinner was a reservoir that made a decision to trap out beavers and caused resident outcry. When they were challenged on this decision they said that the beavers were threatening the homes of endangered birds in the area, the least Bell’s vireo and Willow Flycatcher and had to be killed to protect them.
The outraged citizens hired an attorney who brought the whole thing to court, filing suit against the metrolitan water district, the power company and CDFG. When they lost they brought the matter to appeals court with expert testimony by the likes of Sherri Tippie and Donald Hey.
This time they won because the smart attorney (Mitch Wagoner) argued that that removing the beavers was a violation of CEQA and the court agreed that the decision was “discretionary” and not “ministerial” (meaning they did it because they wanted to not because they had to.) So they lost big time and had to all those pay court costs.
In addition but seperartely, researchers in the area were attracted to the story and published an article about the whole stupid decision wonderfully called “Management by Assertion” which remains one of my favorites.
Well yesterday this was posted including some of their findings.
The reservoir and nearby Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve host endangered species such as Least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillis) and Southwestern Willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), dependent on riparian willow habitat that is created and maintained by North American beaver (Castor canadensis).
Now originally I thought this was on the reservoir website which would have been awesome, but today I can see it was just a blog that I think might be computer generated. Never mind. It is still very good news though because the it means that the information from the good guys in this lawsuit and study is so widespread that it’s easier to pick up than all the lies they wanted people to believe and had a staff of thousands to spread.
Beaver truth will out. So there.