The City of Ottawa is refusing to consider well-established, cost-effective, humane solutions for the beaver who have taken up residence in a large urban pond. They maintain that there is a danger of flooding because this is a storm water pond, but so far, the beaver are not damming anything, or blocking the culverts. They are simply building a lodge to overwinter, on the bank of the pond.
Due to rapid urban expansion, animals like these beaver are losing their habitats at a very fast pace. Therefore, they are trying to find places to live, and some find homes in our urban areas. Studies show that beaver are beneficial for the water they inhabit. Their presence removes sediments and pollutants from waterways, including total suspended solids, total nitrogen, phosphates, carbon and silicates. They maintain a healthy environment for fish, turtles and frogs to thrive.
The City can install simple water flow devices at the culverts, which would alleviate flooding concerns. Pond leveller devices and beaver bafflers are other cost effective simple technologies that other cities have already implemented. A company called Beaver Solutions works with municipalities throughout North America in providing cost-efficient and effective solutions, as an alternative to the senseless destruction of beavers, not to mention the great waste of tax dollars.
The beaver will be trapped with a Conibear, a body grip trap that crushes the animal to death. Depending on the size of the animal and how it enters the trap, it could take minutes or up to an hour or more to die. Besides being clearly inhumane, there is the issue of public safety. This pond is frequented daily by children playing at the water's edge. People walk their dogs on the path that runs around the pond. In Guelph, the Conibear has been banned because a dog was killed when it was trapped.
Why can't Ottawa adopt these humane, long term solutions? Why is Ottawa using a 19th century solution for a 21st century problem? The City is taking a reactive response rather than one based on prevention and compassion. We can't continue to trap and/or poison the wildlife that ends up trying to find new homes in our cities. What the city has to realize is that this is an issue that will not go away. As we destroy the beaver’s natural habitat, they will find other places to live, often in our city ponds and streams. If we trap and kill the beaver in these ponds, others will come.
Please sign this important petition and help move Ottawa into the 21st century of humane wildlife management!
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." —Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)
Photo by Chuck Szmurlo