URGENT: Save the Beaver in Enköping!
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Enköping municipality has decided to kill a beaver who has settled in the city river. At this moment, the beaver is mostly in his hut because the river is ice-covered, but he is living on borrowed time. As soon as the ice melts and there is open water again, the municipality will place a trap underneath the water surface, meant to kill him as he exits his home.
Due to rapid urban expansion, animals are losing their habitats at a very fast pace. Many are trying to find places to live, and some find homes in our urban areas. While it is known that beavers are beneficial for the water they inhabit, for example by removing pollutants from surface and ground water, there may be downsides. The settlement of the beaver in Enköping has resulted in some damaged trees and hedges along the river, which may eventually cause the soil to collapse. Semi-detached trees may pose a safety hazard, as they risk falling on people in the area. There is also a concern that the beaver might eventually cause flooding of Munksundet. These damages and risks are, of course, regrettable and must be prevented, but it is unconscionable to give an animal the death penalty for following his natural instincts to build a home and obtain food.
Trapping and killing the beaver will not solve the problems. As long as there is food and habitat available, other beavers will eventually move into the territory and the cycle of trapping and killing will continue. We cannot continue to kill wildlife that ends up trying to find new homes in our cities. Instead, the municipality should try to resolve the problems by using humane wildlife management and considering long-term solutions. In addition to keeping the beavers unharmed, it would also maintain good public relations in the community. Many of the citizens of Enköping see the beaver as an appreciated feature of the city and have expressed their desire to continue seeing him swimming in the river.
There are well-established, cost-effective, humane solutions for beavers who have taken up residence in urban areas, aimed at mitigating the effects of beaver activity. For example:
- To prevent damage to trees, it is possible to put protection on the lower parts of trees at risk. This is something that the municipality of Enköping says that it has done, but claims that the method has not worked. It is likely that the protection has been poorly implemented, or that only a few trees have been protected, as such measures have been effective in other cities around the world. Protection may be in the form of wire meshes or by painting the base of the tree trunks with vegetable oil infused with cayenne pepper or a mixture of latex and sand. In the latter case, latex allows the bark to breathe, while the gritty texture of the sand deters beavers. Volunteers would be interested in helping in this project.
- It is possible to install water flow devices to alleviate flooding concerns. Pond leveller devices and beaver bafflers have already been implemented in many cities, providing effective solutions. Such devices allow water to flow through the beaver dam and prevent backup over the land.
- It is possible to plant more beaver-friendly trees and bushes in strategic areas.
- If the trees are sufficiently protected, it is possible that the beaver might choose to move out of Enköping.
- It is possible to relocate the beaver to another watercourse. The municipality has claimed that it is not permitted to move wild animals, however, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, it is in fact possible to obtain a permit to relocate beavers. While this may stress the beaver, relocation is not uncommon and measures can be taken to reduce the level of stress. The group “Hjälp för de vilda djuren (Viltjouren Uppsala)” (“Help for the wild animals”) has offered to help in the relocation, but has not yet received a response.
Please sign this important petition and encourage Enköping to use non-lethal alternatives!
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