B.C. beavers spared from euthanization after protests

A beaver in the water

They don’t even know it, but a group of beavers on Pender Island has narrowly escaped death after Gulf Islanders protested a plan to euthanize the animals.

The beavers live on Greenburn Lake, where they have built several dams. The resulting buildup of water has been deemed a threat to the structural integrity of a man-made dam that is also situated on the lake. Earlier this month, Parks Canada officials said that they had tried to remove the beaver dams and put deterrants in the area, but they did not keep the beavers away, and so euthanization was the only remaining option.

The decision was widely condemned by people living on the Gulf Islands.

“We’re actually horrified by the fact that they would dream of killing wild animals when their mandate is to protect the wilderness and wild animals,” local resident Leslie McBain told CBC. “It is ironic that their symbol, the National Parks symbol, is a beaver.”

The outcry was so emphatic that Parks Canada has delayed the plan to euthanize the beavers and says it is looking at other options.

“Although euthanizing the beavers appears to be one of the few remaining options for managing this public safety risk, Parks Canada understands the concern within the community about this potential course of action,” Parks Canada wrote in a statement. “Parks Canada is currently engaging experts to explore the option of installing specialized equipment to allow water to flow unobstructed past the beaver dam.”

Conservation group the Fur-bearers have said that they have reached out to Parks Canada and offered to assist in helping find ways for humans to coexist with the beavers, and with creating systems to help deal with water flow.

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