Archive for the ‘Beavers’ Category

Just how stubborn are the Scots?

Posted by heidi08 On August - 31 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

The English and Welsh say: very stubborn.

Rewilding: Reintroduction extinct species back to Britain will be ‘enormous’ challenge, study finds

The reintroduction of extinct species across rural Britain will have to overcome “enormous” challenges to be successful, a major study of the UK’s largest “rewilding” project has found.

Rewilding is an increasingly popular strand of conservation. There are ambitious plans to revive biodiversity by reintroducing native species, including wolves, beavers and lynx. But new research for the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) has detailed the range of challenges facing the restoration of ancient habitats and returning of lost species to the wild.

According to the study, which will be presented to the RGS on Wednesday at its yearly conference, a number of “on-ground” challenges, including the unpredictability of wild animals, are likely to make rewilding difficult.

 The research, by Dr Kim Ward from Plymouth University and Dr Jonathan Prior from Cardiff University, primarily looked at the recent Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale, which began in May 2009 with the release of three beaver families. The animals went on to breed successfully, making them the first wild beavers in Britain in 400 years.

While the scheme was been hailed as an “outstanding success” by conservationists, the study found it created “conflicts with other land users”, amid local concerns over “disruption to rural business”.

 “Disruption to rural business is a chief concern of the most vocal critics of the Scottish Beaver Trial. They argue that the beavers’ potential to build dams along waterways, and fell trees, changes the dynamics of the wider landscape in ways that cannot be predicted and will negatively impact the rural economy,” said Dr Prior.

First of all, why isn’t a Scottish university reporting to us how impossible it will be to release beavers in Scotland? Why do we need professors from 600 miles away to analyze the situation? And second of all isn’t this really a paper about how impervious the Scots are to new ideas? Shouldn’t it be done by social psychologists specializing in attitude change? There was once a time when rural land use didn’t include vegetarians or dental floss too. And it was hard to change those ideas. But they adapted.

I’m thinking they’ll re-adjust to beavers back in their midst, too just fine.

I’m not sure what other people do on their day OFF but I worked on a new brochure about beaver management. I’m thinking of something that we can distribute at events to address the conflicts and outline solutions and also emphasize the good things beavers do. This will need tweaking I’m sure, but what do you think so far? There must be some way to virtually show this as a trifold brochure, but I haven’t found it yet. Try to imagine CONFLICTS as the front cover, techniques on the inside and WHY on the back. I’m trying to sell to the nonbelievers.



Beaver beginnings

Posted by heidi08 On August - 29 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Beaver Genome Project: ‘There is a lot of interest’

PORTLAND, Ore. — With an assist from Filbert — a furry, buck-toothed denizen of the Oregon Zoo’s Cascade Stream and Pond habitat — scientists at Oregon State University are preparing to sequence the genome of our state animal, the North American beaver.

 Researchers say results of the Beaver Genome Project could help us better understand population dynamics of this iconic Northwest animal, which has evolved to play a key role in maintaining the habitat complexity of wetland ecosystems.

 “This kind of research can tell us things like how many populations of beaver there used to be and even give us clues as to their size,” said Dr. David Shepherdson, the zoo’s deputy conservation manager. “It can also give some indication of how connected and genetically diverse our current wild populations are.”

 “Beavers are important to the ecology of the region, and understanding their genome is an important part of understanding their behaviors and role in the ecosystem,” added Dr. Stephen Ramsey, assistant professor of biomedical sciences at OSU. “There is a lot of interest in exploring the genetics of wild beaver populations throughout the Northwest, but we lack the reference genome that would really facilitate those kinds of studies.”

 Enter Filbert, a North American beaver at the OregonZoo. Since zoo veterinarians were conducting the animal’s routine physical exam and blood-work panel this month, they offered to set aside a small blood sample for OSU’s genome project.

This is the beaver in question in the Oregon zoo engaged in a daily pastime: it surely seems typical enough to make inferences on all members of the species.

Which is not to say this isn’t mildly interesting, but it’s certainly not the genetic research we need on beavers. Whagenomet we need to do is look at all the pretend subspecies (three supposedly in California: Golden, Shasta and & Sonora) and find out if they’re really any different or if they’re just different names because some naturalist wanted credit. In Europe they tested all the pretend subspecies and found there was an east version and a west version, and that was it. We need to do that in the US, and we haven’t. All we need is a couple of hairs from the pelts in a museum and we’re good to go. Unfortunately this news is about the kind of genetic testing you would do on yourself to learn that you had ancestors in Asia or were once related to tribal kings. Interesting, but not going to change our thinking much.

Yesterday afternoon Rusty Cohn of Napa had the random fortune to be walking past the pond and film this amazing interaction of the three young otter pups born in Tulocay creek this year.  This is the kind of moment that when you’re holding the camera you can’t believe you were lucky enough to get it on film. When I say enjoy. I know you will.


A time to break down, and a time to build up;

Posted by heidi08 On August - 24 - 2015Comments Off

This morning I learned that the kit brought to Lindsay was 2.25 grams (just under 5 lbs). Not even as heavy as a sack of flour.  The yearling was too decomposed to weigh but both beavers brought for necropsy were female.

Which shouldn’t be newly heartbreaking to me but strangely is, so I’m posting this video to give us some perspective. We’ve in the beaver business for a long time. I have to think  we aren’t finished yet.

Giving up on love…

Posted by heidi08 On August - 16 - 2015Comments Off

We’ve all been there. That moment when waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right just makes no sense and we decide to forage on our own anyway. Why wait for love to start our lives when we have our own ability to start things? Unfortunately for Beatrix it took her captors 31 days to decide that it wasn’t worth her waiting anymore. During which she lived in concrete blocks covered with plywood, tormented by the sound of rushing water she could never reach. Remember?

Now she’s finally free.

Dam floods area; beaver moved

beatriceTULALIP — Beavers are natural engineers, but can be a nuisance if they’re residing in residential or city areas.

This was the case for “Beatrix” a name given to a female North American beaver by the students at Brookeside Elementary, who was flooding the school’s play field with her dams.

But Beatrix was in luck because the “Beaver Bill” and the agreement of the Tulalip Tribes meant that there are government regulations on who can handle and relocate beavers.

“We thought this was a perfect time to relocate this animal and get her to a better place,” Dittbrenner said.

 She was finally captured in July until Aug. 6 she was released into the Skyhomish River.

I guess they thought a month in concrete was long enough. Or that they were nearing the deadline of when a beaver would have enough time to create a food cache before winter. Remember how the last article talked about how important it was to find her a mate she liked and introduce the pair to their new home together? Well, the party line has changed now. (Of course the media didn’t glance at the other article and ask why the line changed. Why would they?)

 Before Beatrix was captured, it was revealed that she was a single beaver through wildlife surveillance. Cameras were set up around her beaver lodge to monitor before capture.

 Though Beatrix is without a mate, she is a highly social animal and should be able to pair with a beaver at her new location.

 ”They’re just so happy to see another beaver, and take to each other really well,” assistant wildlife supervisor Molly Alves said.

Just to refresh our memories, here’s what the last article said:

Now the rodent, named “Beatrix” by neighbors, waits for the nonprofit Beavers Northwest that captured her to find her a mate.  Pairing up beavers makes it more likely they’ll stay at that spot.

Lucky Beatrix.

Remind me never to be that lucky, okay?

In the interest of fairness I will say that it’s way better to move beavers than to kill them. And that I know these folks want beavers to be living free doing what they do best. But honestly. If you’re going to release her anyway, just do it without the concrete motel 6 stay. Okay? I’m still having nightmares from this footage.

Now that we have THAT out of the way, here’s a fun photo shoot from the Napa beaver pond yesterday. Quite the wildlife corridor wouldn’t you say?


And the beaver goes on

Posted by heidi08 On August - 14 - 2015Comments Off

Thanks to Rusty who found this perfect illustration. (I, of course, corrected the teeth.)

beaverspeakercorrectedWhat would beavers tell us if they could speak?

  • Save water
  • Spend time with family
  • Work hard and keep trying.
  • You’ll know when its time to give up.

No update on our beavers this morning. Yesterday I did an interview with Channel 2 in the morning, and Cheryl and Lory talked to channel 5 that night. The Gazette is calling today. It never ceases to amaze me how the media loves to copy itself. But I’m still most surprised with what they don’t know- even after 8 years of covering our beavers the reporter was shocked to learn that they didn’t come out in the daytime.



Posted by heidi08 On August - 1 - 2015Comments Off



Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2015Comments Off