Leave it to Beavers

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Beaver Dam on Tranquille River

Water is precious and so are beavers in the semi-arid climate around Kamloops.
Canada became a nation literally on the backs (skins) of beavers and today I think it’s fair to say that most of us rarely even think about them as we go about our everyday life. In fact, if we hear about beavers it’s probably in the context of being a ‘damn’ nuisance.

But there are real advantages to their presence especially in dry old Kamloops.
Building dams to hold back water is essential for them to live and have babies, but the effects are not all for them.
By making ponds they create a world for millions of others creatures essential to our survival. Pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies, insects like ants and beetles who are natures vacuum cleaners, ducks, plants, water creatures and mammals all depend on a water source, and beavers are miraculous builders of them.

Dragon flies mating Copyright M. Budreau

There is a beaver dam on the Tranquille River Trail that is frequently destroyed by humans caught up in modern thinking that beavers are pests.

As one who respects all life, my instincts tell me beavers know more about how to live in this world than we currently do. Humans think they rule the world and behave that way too. They want things to go one way and animals often know it is best for all if they go another way. There is seldom a meeting of minds because people just don’t take the time to understand the web of life. However there is a brilliant and patient man who has taken some time and solved a problem between men and beavers that has mutual benefits .

Instead of destroying beaver dams year after year, which is a great example of “if you keep doing the same thing you will get he same result,” he broke the cycle by taking the time to understand what makes beavers build dams where they do, and once he figured that out he used this knowledge to gently adjust, with no harm, where the beavers were building so there was no longer a reason to destroy their dam that annually washed out a road in the spring. He brought harmony between what men wanted and what beavers wanted to the benefit of all concerned – that is brilliance and compassion.

This method of working with beavers could be used anywhere there is a dam problem.

Beavers are indeed important beings for the survival of countless species, including us as we proceed face first into climactic change.

Here’s a link to view this fabulous story produced by PBS
All About Beavers

Checkout our new book!   Kamloops Backcountry Hikes

Mairi Budreau


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