Updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What about Argentinian beavers?

Argentinean authorities in the province of Tierra del Fuego are planning to cull 100,000 beavers to save the native forests.

They are an invasive species in the area. 20 specimens were brought in 1946 to offer locals a work in the fur trade but beavers reproduced rapidly and the situation became “out of control.” They’ve destroyed an area double the size the city of Buenos Aires and now the 100,000 population has no natural predators.

Biologists argue South American trees tend to die off after being gnawed by the rodents and they’ve produced huge damage to Tierra del Fuego by building their dams in this unique river system.

The plan is to eradicate the North American beaver completely from the archipelago local officials declared in previous weeks.

According to Adrian Schiavini, head of the National Strategy for Invasive Exotic Species, “humane traps” would be used to cull the animals “quickly and effectively,” he told national radio and that experts in beaver hunting from North America would be brought.

However, the method is causing controversy among environmentalists and scientists. Members from ARAF a local environmental association are in opposition to the hunting and killing and argue the beavers should be captured and moved to their natural habitat.

ARAF also questioned the use of 180 “humane traps” in eight different areas of the province. They say there are other methods and programs that capture the animals alive and then proceed with their relocation.

Meanwhile Mr. Schiavini stated the eradication plan was not from the province itself nor a national plan. Instead its part of a collaboration plan with the Chilean authorities and that it is financed by the Global Environment Fund.

“This is part of an international treaty and a decision from both countries, not a madman’s plan to kill beavers,” he said.

Schiavini also stated the method used to hunt the rodents isn’t cruel and said the plan would take more than two years to control the beaver population and mitigate the effects their presence has caused to the forest.

The North American beaver is the largest rodent in North America. They usually weigh form 11 to 32kg with 20kg being the typical. Their life expectancy in the wild varies between 10 to 12 years and can be as long as 15 in captivity.

 

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