Archive for the ‘Beavers elsewhere’ Category

Beavers: The smartest thing in Fur Pants!

Posted by heidi08 On July - 20 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

One of the stories that’s been hovering around my inbox is a new BBC production in the making called Wild Alaska. It is going to feature the animals you’d expect and some beavers, but I was delighted to see this pre-runner released this morning on a channel called “It’s okay to be smart”. Ha! Now I know everyone is busy but this is really worth your time and your friend’s time, and your bosses time. Settle in for a few minutes and watch it and then share it with EVERYONE you know.

From a website called Zhil Speed.

 

Asked and Answered

Posted by heidi08 On July - 18 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

We’ve entered the phase of the festival planning where things are falling into place. The brochure proof from the printer was ready yesterday and it’s fully ADORABLE. Our grant from Kiwanis arrived in the mail and an unexpected treasure floated our way in the offer of help from this group.

Have Fun, Give Back, Run!

I was surprised I’d never heard of this group before but read they were formed this very year, which is as good a way as I know to demonstrate the beaver spirit still exists in Martinez. Their lovely website says:

The Martinez Beavers Run Club (MBRC) was established in 2017 as a way to bring people together through a shared interest in running. The club is a fun way to meet new friends, explore new areas and continue to strengthen the sense of community that is being cultivated by the people of Martinez.

Which makes enormous sense because if the Martinez beavers symbolize nothing else, they surely  represent a sense of community! With glowing eyes, I immediately suggested a million jobs for which they could be wonderfully appreciated, and maybe they had a flag or shirts with their logo and wanted to run in the parade? I know Jon would be VERY happy about any cheerful worker who wanted to help set up or take down the event! This is the kind of thing that makes the beaver festival seem imminently possible. Here they are gathered for their coffee run in May.

I hope the Martinez Beavers Run Club is around for many, many years and reminds people cheerfully of the plucky spirit of our beavers which did what no one thought they could (or should) for a decade. They brought out the community in Martinez, and truly they brought out one other thing. Which is the subject of our NEXT discussion.

Alan McDonnell: Do beavers have to be made into a political issue?

It is less than a month since we discovered a family of beavers on a river near Beauly. Watching footage of two kits playing in the water near their lodge, we did not foresee how abruptly their fate would be determined by politicians’ need to be seen to be doing something. We know beavers have been controversial on Tayside, but this corner of the Highlands isvery different.

There is no way of knowing where this population has come from. It is possible they were released, but we think it is more likely they have escaped from a private collection. From evidence along the river, we know beavers have been in the area for at least five years and do not appear to have caused anyone any problems. Trees for Life has supported the return of beavers to Scotland for 25 years. They can improve the health of rivers and lochs, reduce flooding, and create wetlands that benefit many species. So following the announcement from environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham’s last November, that reintroduced beavers can remain in Scotland, we have been looking into the scope for establishing a population in the Highlands.

When we found the beaver family near Beauly, we spoke with Scottish Natural Heritage and proposed engaging with local people to discuss whether these animals could be allowed to stay where they are or look at other options that could work well for both the animals and the community. But shortly after the news reached the Scottish Government, Ms Cunningham announced that the beavers are to be trapped and removed. She is determined to avoid a repeat of the experience on Tayside, where arable farmers have seen crops damaged by an unauthorised beaver release with no measures in place to manage the impacts the species can have on farming. This is understandable – but we disagree with the idea that this should drive a decision to remove a beaver family in a completely different area.

Actively managing how their natural behaviour can affect farming and fishing has been key to these successes and has allowed them to benefit from the positive ways beavers affect the river environment and added to an area’s appeal to visitors.

A knee-jerk response to remove this beaver family will do nothing to address the impacts of beavers in Tayside, but it may deprive the Beauly community and environment of something very special. We have an opportunity here to have a different kind of conversation about wildlife – one that doesn’t lead to conflict and stalemate.

We need to listen to the concerns of farmers and fishermen, but let’s consider the opportunities beavers bring and see if any solutions can work. What have we got to lose?

Alan McDonnell is conservation projects manager at environmental charity Trees for Life

Nicely done Alan! Great letter. And I’m interested in the response you get for that. I’m not convinced they came from a escaped private collection OR an illegal release, since waterways are highways and beavers go long distances even over land. But who knows? It actually makes me think Scotland might be the very place to answer the question no one else could ever manage. Namely: What habitat do beavers prefer?

The impression I got from watching our beavers all those years, and seeing the beavers that tried to break into the habitat, was that beavers PREFER being in a small creek where they can dam, and have a lodge and a pond of their own, but when none is available they’re content to live in a bigger waterway where no dams are possible. (Like  the carquinez strait.) But Dr. Duncan Haley said that he thinks beavers PREFER to be in a large river and only move upstream and do all that work to live in smaller ones when things are over crowded.

The relatively untapped puzzle can best be settled by following a population of beavers in an area where there have been NONE for 500 years so there’s no competition. You see why Scotland is the perfect place to answer this question? Bring on the researchers!

But as for your original question, “Do beaver issues always have to be political?” After a decade of careful research, Martinez can tell you firmly that the answer is

YES.

 

Beaver ignorance never really goes out of style!

Posted by heidi08 On July - 17 - 20172 COMMENTS

Oh good! Smart people are still being head-smackingly stupid about beavers! Thank goodness! I thought I was out of a job for a while there. It’s good to know our services are still needed.

Let’s start where we always start, shall we? In Saskatchewan.

Meewasin starts work on trail through the Northeast Swale

Work began Thursday on building a 2.2-kilometre trail network through the swale that is intended to both accommodate those who want to enjoy the area just north of the Silverspring and Evergreen neighbourhoods and discourage those who misuse the area.

The trail system will include six nodes that will feature benches, garbage cans and interpretive panels. The trail is being built along a three-metre-wide swath that has already been disturbed by human activity. “What we’re trying to create here is an access to the swale, which has significant ecological value,” Otterbein said in an interview at the swale Friday.

A beaver has built a home in the wet pond and some endangered northern leopard frogs have also been spotted in the pond, Otterbein said. Meewasin also plans to install wildlife-friendly fencing along the swale’s edge next to the developing Aspen Ridge neighbourhood.

I’m told a ‘swale’ is a marshy or hollow place between ridges. I couldn’t tell when I read this article whether they were thinking about protecting the sensitive frogs from the beavers or protecting the neibourhood from the beavers, but I’m sure curious what “wildlife-friendly fencing” looks like in Saskatchewan, where they actually had a beaver kill contest just last year.

I’m guessing that they were heavily informed by the thoughtful outdoor chronicle “Mountain men” which profiles a forlorn trapper who can’t kill many beavers because there’s not enough WATER. No kidding.

Lack of water gives Tom beaver problems on Mountain Men

This week on Mountain Men, Tom is having trouble with his beaver traps due to a lack of water.

Beavers are creatures of habit and the key to success when trapping them is usually the location. Traps can be set along the beaver dam, where they tend to run across the path over the dam often. You can also place one between two ponds the beavers are using or any path they use frequently.

The lack water means that not only can Tom not get his boat into the traps, but the traps are also exposed and any twigs covering them are now gone. This makes it highly unlikely he’s going to have any luck whilst the water levels are so low.The lack water means that not only can Tom not get his boat into the traps, but the traps are also exposed and any twigs covering them are now gone. This makes it highly unlikely he’s going to have any luck whilst the water levels are so low.

Ohh no! Poor Tom! Not only is the water level too low to trap beavers but the unfortunate man is too frickin stupid to live! Saying the water level is too low to catch beavers is like saying there’s no time to gain weight because you’re too busy eating, or your prisons are too empty because the city has too many police, or the federal government is working so hard we can’t afford health care.

Here, Tom, I have an idea. Stop killing beavers for a nanosecond. Let them make their dams and raise the water level and recharge the aquifer, and then you’ll be able to trap lots of things that live IN the water, like otter and mink and things that drink the water like moose and fox, and the beaver will save your sons!  Buy them each a copy of this novel, will you? And then we’ll talk.

facepalm

More grrs for Vermont where they have been struggling mightily to justify extending the otter trapping season for another month, and foolishly agreed to listen to the public on the issue. They have been getting millions of emails from folks who say angrily that “otters are innocent” and they shouldn’t be killed for their fur.

Obviously beavers are NOT innocent, that goes without saying, and their trapping season lasts a month longer so it’s woefully inconvenient for trappers to have to modify their beaver killing machines so that otters pass through safely and for wardens to actually check and see the difference. The easier adjustment would be to make the seasons the same – plus you can depredate beaver any ole time of year if they’re causing a problem.

Note no one is suggesting LOWERING the beaver trapping season to make them the same and save on paperwork. I  wonder why?

A Vermont legislative committee has postponed a decision on a proposal to lengthen the otter trapping season. This postponement, voted on last week, adds another chapter to a long and vigorous public debate.

“It’s a highly contentious issue,” said Brenna Galdenzi, president and founder of animal advocacy group Protect Our Wildlife. In a phone interview following the hearing, she said, “Whenever there’s an issue of trapping, it really gets people active and speaking out. It really gets people going.”

“We’ve received hundreds and hundreds of emails,” Catherine Gjessing, general counsel for the state Fish and Wildlife Department, said in a phone interview. The department provides staffing and scientific recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Board when it considers changing hunting, fishing or trapping regulations.

 Kimberly Royar, a state furbearer biologist, said that public sentiment toward trapping sometimes focuses on sympathy with individual animals at the expense of considering how best to manage an entire species.

Beaver and otter are caught using the same traps, but otter season ends at the end of February and beaver season ends March 31. This means trappers going after beaver in March are required to modify the trigger mechanisms in their traps to allow otter to pass through unscathed.

Gjessing and Royar identified two primary reasons the department supports P-1704, both related to different end dates of the otter and beaver seasons. First, they said the department has heard reports from trappers that the modified traps used in March sometimes simply pin beaver until they drown instead of breaking their necks, leading to inhumane kills. Extending otter season would remove the requirement that trappers use the modified trigger mechanism.

“It’s not a matter of increasing the otter take,” Royar said. “It’s allowing trappers to utilize the otter that are taken during that expanded beaver season. That’s really the goal of this.”

Oh, those tender-hearted trappers! Did you catch they are ONLY asking for that extra month for the poor beavers who drown to death in the modified traps. Goodness those trappers are sensitive souls, (and if you wonder how sensitive go read the comment section of the article).

As I said, no one minds about killing beavers, but if we could just change the rules about how often we can kill otters we can reduce the suffering of those poor pests. Because otters are INNOCENT!

Grrr.