We have the Wild Bunnies of Kitsilano, with their own song. Now we have the wild beavers of Kitsilano. They don’t need their own song – they already are an icon on every Canadian nickel.

CBC Radio has covered the animal with “Rethinking the Beaver: Why beavers and humans have to learn to get along”. You may agree with Senator Nicole Eaton who called them toothy tyrants and dentally defective rats that should not be a Canadian emblem. Or you may agree with Glynnis Hood, professor of environmental science, author of The Beaver Manifesto, who thinks that beavers and humans are both control freaks trying to compete for the same resources.

Our local critters are gnawing away at trees near the ponds at Kits Point, just behind the Vancouver Museum. They are building a massive home for themselves on the edge of the large pond. The way they are going they will be exceeding building height restrictions of the area, deemed by the city.

The rest of us (humans) have to pay fines if we chop down trees without a permit. Nature is taking its course.

The Good News

When I was enjoying the fireworks at Bard on the Beach last summer, I mentioned to my friend, Johanna, that the trees in Vanier Park were growing so tall that it was obstructing the view of some of the fireworks. With Vancouver’s love of trees, I know the trees would never be cut down. Maybe just a little trim would do. So did these local beavers have some extrasensory perception to clear the trees for a better view of the fireworks? Or did Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director of Bard, hint to them that if they chomped down a few trees to improve the view, they could become part of the Bard lore?

The Bad News

The Park Board staff are not amused. They so diligently try to maintain the trees in public spaces. The Kitsilano beavers are winning this battle so far. The staff placed wire mesh around the base of the trees in the park to try to save the trees. We’ll see how far nature will overrule the Park Board plans.

When was the last time you saw a beaver? Have your kids ever seen one? The best time to see our Kitsilano beavers is around dusk. Come take a look and guess how many trees will be chomped down to build a wooden house for our resident beavers.

Photo: Michael Wheatley / Getty Images

Last modified: December 8, 2018

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