Saskatchewan – Chew on This

Reprinted with permission from Heidi Perryman from Martinez Beavers

The forward-thinking province of Saskatchewan, (which narrowly rejected a plan to offer ‘beaver bounties’ for citizens who bravely kill their own beavers), just announced it will come up with half a million dollars to kill beavers at the municipal level. The “Minister of Hyperbole” has granted license to claim that the beaver population has EXPLODED in recent years and there is certainly nothing else they could do to prevent rodents from blocking culverts and building dams. Never mind those pesky environmentalists who claim that beavers raise the water table and slow water movements by creating ponds. No one’s trapping anymore because the value of fur has declined in recent years and all these beavers won’t kill themselves!

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, known as SARM, says beavers are damaging rural infrastructure and private property. SARM president David Marit said Wednesday that part of the problem is the exploding beaver population.

Exploding beavers? Now that does sound dangerous! No wonder you found $500,000 to fight it! I guess America has seen shoe bombs and underwear bombs in the last few years, so why NOT an exploding beaver! It’s insidious!

O-o-o-o-oh. I just received a wire from the “Ministry of Dangling Participles” clarifying that the population of beavers has exploded, not the beavers themselves. Whew, that’s a relief! I was going for my beaver-proof vest. I’m curious though, how do you know the population has exploded? I mean, when is the last time you did a regional count and how do you know the numbers have increased?

Funny thing about beaver trapping. When governments rush in to take out massive groups of beavers, populations have a way of recovering. In fact they often rebound, with more food available for fewer beavers and female caloric intake increasing so that brood size increases. You end up doing the same thing all over again in 1-2 years.

Hopefully you set aside another $500,000 to take care of that problem!

Or you could be proactive. Install culvert fences, flow devices and wrap trees. Allow beavers to manage your water and increase the population of things that are more valuable to trap. Regina is about 9 hours from Dr. Glynnis Hood, whose beaver research has made the world take notice. She’s actually very knowledgeable about beaver management. I’m sure she could connect you with some graduate students that would come install flow devices for the cost of a pack of Skittles. You can by an awful lot of Skittles with $500,000!

But then you’d have all that money left over, every year, and your wildlife population would improve and your province will be known for its humane pragmatism. You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

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