The battle to destroy beavers seems to be reaching a new stage. CBC is reporting that the Greater Toronto Area’s transit authority, Metrolinx, is “declaring war” on beavers. Beavers are reportedly a problem, not only for Metrolinx, but also for Toronto city councils: not since 1959 has Metrolinx’s excess water pooled in the beaver habitat, where the critters must feed.
Metrolinx has been fighting beavers for months, CBC reports, and last week for the first time, it hired people to “attack and gut” the adult beavers. The first beaver “die-off” has taken place, with 14 beavers discovered dead in the course of one day, CBC reports. That’s likely an underestimate, as the individual animals were probably not discovered until the next day, when the kill was performed.
The beavers apparently don’t mind Metrolinx’s human death squads, which have been hired via a private contractor called Professional Environmental Services. The beavers enjoy swimming in this pond that sits in a wetland in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, about 1,800km (1,100 miles) northeast of Toronto.
The problem is that their habitat was stripped away by the first invasion in 1851, and there is apparently a lot of cheap timber in the area, which is encouraging to beavers. But there is also an abundance of water in the wetland; 3.6 metres of rainfall a year.
In addition to the live beavers, a human trap caught two more, adding to a total population of six adult beavers and two beavers that are separated from the colony, according to Metrolinx’s lobbyist, Nicholas Parnass.
Parnass defended Metrolinx’s position against the beavers. “These creatures are well-loved,” he told CBC. “They do amazing things in the landscape. They do unique things; they help to maintain the ecosystem.”
Beekeeper Suni Kristalic calls Metrolinx’s attack on beavers “an animal abuse report,” according to an article in the Ottawa Citizen. “When the agency holds public meetings regarding their fish and wildlife services, they stress how important beavers are to the ecology of the area.”