Beavers build sophisticated dams and deep-water ponds that slow erosion of riverbanks, create cooler deep-water pools for temperature-sensitive plant and fish species, and increase the water table, a big deal for Western states coping with drought. And they're social animals who have mates, kits, and an active social life.
But centuries-old myths and fables about the beaver have led to their destruction and prevented us 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!