The world is smiling at the cute video of a beaver apparently herding cattle on a Saskatchewan ranch. But they may not smile when they learn how the government allows our national animals to be treated if they’re deemed inconvenient.
Beaver killing contests, bounties, and culls are accepted practices in the prairie province, despite the alternatives available – and offered by The Fur-Bearers. Flow devices, which are customized for individual situations and either prevent damming or allow dams to remain in place but prevent infrastructure damage, as well as other co-existence measures like tree wrapping, are offered to numerous municipalities by The Fur-Bearers every year. These scientifically-based, long-term solutions keep beavers on the land to live with their families and perform their roles as keystone species, but protect landowners and communities from experiencing the damage beaver activity can cause.
Unfortunately, in Saskatchewan, governments rejected concerns from The Fur-Bearers last year about a derby – a mass killing of beavers with inherently inhumane traps for cash and prizes. Communities from Metro Vancouver to suburban Alberta to rural Ontario have benefited from the humane, sustainable solutions offered by The Fur-Bearers. It is only through donations that we are able to both advocate for these policies, build flow devices, and train municipalities in their use.
We enjoyed the video of this beaver and herd of cows, both bewildered by the other. But we’re also aware of the fate that may await the beaver should he be deemed “inconvenient” in Saskatchewan, or elsewhere in Canada.