An industrious beaver was caught on video at Kerry Wood Nature Centre.
“We didn’t get it in the act of actually dropping the tree, but we did get it one night inspecting its work,” said Todd Nivens, executive director of the Waskasoo Environmental Education Society.
A beaver had previously chewed halfway through the 25-centimetre balsam poplar tree trunk when the video was shot last week. It was the first time staff have captured video of beaver activity at night, which is when they do most of their work in the woods at the nature centre.
He said the chewed tree, located on the south side of Dr. George Trail, was going to fall toward the wetlands and away from the trail, so the beaver activity did not pose a danger.
“Since that tree came down, they’ve actually taken three more, including the tree the trail camera was on. The colony is pretty active right now.”
At least one breeding pair of beavers currently call the nature centre home, and nearby trees are both food and building material for their dam.
He said in the past three weeks, the colony has taken down 15 trees at the centre, and there are many more beaver living elsewhere in Red Deer.
“There are a number of beavers that have got lodges built into the river banks up and down the river, and I’ve seen them swimming in the river during the day.
“In terms of the ongoing evolution of the environment, beavers are super important, because they have a critical role to play in maintaining and creating wetlands, removing dead growth from forests, contributing to the environmental health of waterways.”
Nivens said the initial reaction of property owners is to remove beaver, but there are lots of emerging ways on how to live with them and mitigate damage. Beavers have the right to part of the environment, he said.
“Give them their space. Let them do their thing, and keep your pets away from them.”