Whatever you’re doing this morning you HAVE to make time to hear this excellent program on the beavers in the river otter in Cornwall. My mom happened to be in the car when it aired yesterday and gave the beaver signal. Reporter Christopher Werth interviews the farmer who discovered them, and then our old friend Derek Gow who has been beating the beaver drum for years in England. Honestly it’s an excellent interview, you won’t regret it. They interview the usual castor-phobic fisherman, and then let Derek respond.
But Derek Gow, firmly in the Yea faction of the beaver debate, has a stiff rejoinder to these concerns.
“That’s just a crap argument,” says Gow, a conservationist who’s campaigned for the reintroduction of beavers since the 1990’s.
Gow says beaver dams would actually reduce flooding by holding water. And he says fears about beavers arise from the fact that, after centuries living without them, people have forgotten what the animals actually do.
“They think it’s some sort of Godzilla-type thing that’s going to rip babies out of prams, and kick down the Houses of Parliament, and chop down every tree there is in the landscape,” Gow says. “And that’s just ridiculous!”
I just adore the visual of beavers ripping babies out of prams, and wrote Derek this morning to say so. But the truth is, people aren’t uniquely irrational in England after their 500-year beaver break. There have been beavers more or less consistently in America and we’re still anxious and stupid about them. They’re pretty stupid in Canada too. Let’s just say that castor-phobia isn’t unique to the British Isles.
(And this was the most fun I ever had making a graphic).
Thanks Mom for the tip! Looks like my comments from last night have been bumped to the top of the page. Now I’m just waiting for them to have a beaver festival in Cornwall!