September 16, 2009

Even the beavers can’t hide

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First people targeted wolves, then bears. Now even beavers can’t hide.

Trappers killed 10 beavers that made a Kenai, Alaska, drainage system their home, according to the Associated Press. When the beavers began plugging up drainage culverts as dams, the Alaska Department of Transportation called the state’s Department of Fish and Game to prevent damage to a nearby road.

“We were experiencing what could have been a catastrophic failure of the road that could have caused millions of dollars in damage,” said Carl High, Peninsula District superintendent with the DOT.

A special permit granted the Kenai Peninsula Trappers Association permission to remove the beavers, but the hides had to be turned over because the beavers were caught out of season and within city limits. Some locals were displeased with the killings.

Officials say they would rather have relocated the beavers or used “beaver exclusion devices” that allow them to build dams on the upside of culverts but don’t affect water flow. But the DOT wanted the situation taken care of pronto. Officials say more beavers are likely to return, and they want to try different solutions in the future. Interesting that they didn’t try the other solutions this time.

– Emily Linroth

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