Messages of co-existence strong as beavers settle in at Olympic Village

Two fur-bearing friends have found a new home in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, and they’ve caught the hearts and minds of animal lovers around the world. What makes the news of these two beavers more exciting for us at The Fur-Bearers is the strong messaging of co-existence from all observers.

While the length of stay the two beavers have in mind may be up in the air and dependent on available resources, the Vancouver Parks Board has said the only thing they’ll do is engage in tree-wrapping of larger trees in the area to preserve them, regardless of beaver activity. Officials at all level, as well as the public, have made the encouraging observation that it is up to the urbanites around Olympic Village to learn to live with beavers: the very message we promote through our Living With Wildlife campaign.

We do, however, want to offer some tips to those who may want to visit the beavers, or live in the same neighbourhood, to ensure that everyone has the happiest home possible.

Don’t feed the beavers: if they’re hungry enough and no available resources are nearby, they will go to where resources are (they won’t starve). By introducing foodstuffs, you can create health hazards and change their natural impulses.

Beavers get sick from salt water: last year we heard about an unfortunate case where people were trying to help a beaver get back to the ocean – and ended up making him quite ill. Beavers can’t survive in salt water and become quite ill.

What you throw out ends up in their living room: everything from the dregs of your coffee to the nearly-empty bleach bottle you dispose of in or around False Creek goes right into the home of the beavers. Help keep their homes as clean as you like your own and don’t contribute to the pollution of the area.

Don’t be the paparazzi: you probably wouldn’t want someone poking a camera lens through your window while you make the bed, so remember that this is their home, not an exhibit. If you’re able to stay a safe distance and get a photo, please do so – but don’t invade their space for the sake of a picture.

Let them be wild: the general theme of many of these points, you’ve likely noticed, is to make minor modifications to our behaviour so that the beavers can simply be beavers. The greatest way we can show our respect and love of wildlife is to let the animals be wild.

We’re excited to see what comes of this young beaver family, and are hoping all of Vancouver will come together (along with the brand new Olympic Village Beaver twitter account) and show that co-existence is always possible – and wonderful.


Work like our growing Living With Wildlife campaign is only possible with the support of monthly donors. Please consider become a monthly donor – for as little as $5 a month – and help us create a Canada that is truly fur-free.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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