A spike in Edmonton’s beaver population is causing headaches for parks officials as the flat-tailed critters take down trees and clog up storm drainage systems.
The busy beavers have been forced from outlying areas because of drought-like conditions.
Terry Bereziuk, Edmonton’s parks supervisor, says the North Saskatchewan River is a plentiful source of water for the semi-aquatic animals.
Bereziuk says there’s no way to know for sure how many are living in the river valley now.
The city does a count every fall, last year recording roughly 2,000 within Edmonton limits.
But that was before the recent dry spell.
The feisty rodents — considered a national symbol — are causing problems by taking down trees in parks and on private property, as well as building “houses” that can interfere with storm water ponds and man-made lakes, Bereziuk said.
Those are an important part of the city’s overall drainage system.
Crews have been wrapping chicken wire around the base of some trees, including ones in Hermitage Park, so the beavers can’t get to them.
The city has also had a beaver control program in place for years — where the animals are trapped and killed.
Bereziuk said that program — which he referred to as a “last resort” — has been ramped up this year because of a spike in complaints about beavers.
“We’re definitely getting more calls.” He declined to say how many beavers have been eliminated.