Today, we take a deeper look at the beaver. Beavers are sophisticated eco-engineers, one of few animals capable of broadening biodiversity and currently considered of the keys to reversing climate change. They build sophisticated dams and deep-water ponds that stem erosion of riverbanks, create cooler deep-water pools that support temperature-sensitive plant and fish species, and increase the water table, a big deal for Western states suffering the impact of worsening drought. In addition, they're social animals who live much like humans, with mates, two kits per year, and an active social life.
But centuries-old myths and fables about the beaver have led to their destruction and prevented us, as a society, from recognizing their charms and value to the ecosystem. We fear them, dislike them, and use them for all the wrong reasons, like killing them for their pelts.
Let's celebrate the beaver!
- Jim Robbins - freelance journalist based in Montana and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. He’s the author of several books including his most recent, “The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and An Urge To Save the Planet.” He’s currently at work on his 6th book, “Nineteen Arguments For the Survival of Birds”
- Rachel Poliquin - freelance writer and curator. She’s the author of “The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing,” and her new book “Beaver” for the Reaktion Books’ Animal Series is due out in 2015
- Heidi Perryman - child psychologist and the founder of Worth-A-Dam
- Sherri Tippie - the top live-trapper of Beaver in North America. She rescues beaver in Colorado and rehabilitates and relocates them to areas where there ponds are needed.