Beaver problems: National symbol conflicts with national capital

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
Beavers in Regina can pose problems when their dams disrupt storm channels.

A huge population of beavers has found a home, fittingly, in the Canadian capital that chose the buck-toothed rodent as a national symbol. And if you ask the city of Ottawa, they might say the beavers are letting status go to their heads.

The city's new wildlife strategy says beavers, while they provide crucial support to the area's ecosystem, have been building dams near bridges and road culverts that sometimes flood land and damage roads.

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Their population has risen in recent years, and there are now an estimated 2,500 to 5,000 beavers living in the city, according to the Ottawa Sun.

In past years, farmers have called them uncontrollable pests. The Sun reported trappers kill about 150 beavers a year to prevent them from damaging infrastructure.

Bring in the "beaver deceivers," the city says in its new strategy, devices that operate like fences to block beavers from culverts. But beaver deceivers won't work everywhere, and the city has said it might still need to trap beavers.

Ottawa's wildlife debates don't stop at beavers. The strategy also addresses management of wild turkeys and other animals. Turkeys made headlines this Christmas after residents complained they were running rampant in the suburbs, frightening and annoying families.

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Reports have also revealed a trend among some Ottawa residents of trapping and deporting unwanted squirrels to Quebec. The city report warns moving wildlife could kill animals or cause them suffering.

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