By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March.3, 2012
His voice rises sharply in an otherwise slow interview and Oliver Busby says it like a declaration.
“There is no lethal trapping of beavers going on in Squamish.”
Singed by public criticism of beaver culling in 2009, the district of Squamish seems to have ensured the beavers were relocated not culled in the past two years.
Or at least that is the claim.
As many as five beavers from Squamish were captured and relocated to Pemberton in 2011, Oliver Busby, the EBB consultant told the Squamish Reporter.
EBB Environmental Consulting was hired by the district to conduct an assessment of beaver activities at nine sites within the Squamish River Watershed.
The beaver assessments were done at the Judd Slough Pump Station, Horse Creek Outfall, Dryden Creek Pump Station, Harris Slough Pump Station, and Loggers Lane at the Smoke Bluffs Park.
Beavers, a 2010 EBB report to council noted, can plug culverts, down trees in parks and on private property, flood lands, and burrow in dikes, ditches or dams.
In the fall of 2011, EBB live trapped the beavers, and relocated them to Pemberton.
“They were released and relocated up past Pemberton and to some other sites in the provincial area,” Busby said.
Although beaver relocation isn’t allowed under provincial regulations, Busby said special permits were obtained.
“There are only two or three trappers that have a special permit for relocation,” he said.
Besides trapping and relocating beavers, the district also installed pond-levellers that create a permanent leak through the beaver dam that the beavers can’t stop.
“The beavers can’t figure out how the water gets through their dam and they learn to adjust with it,” Busby said.
Environmentalist John Buchanan said relocation isn’t the answer.
“We have to live to co-exist with them,” he said.
Lesley Fox, executive director of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, said the successful relocation of beavers is often very difficult, particularly when it involves beaver family.
“Unless great care is given to live trapping the entirely family, the process can be cruel and traumatic. There are three generations of beavers living in a family. Also, when beavers mate they form monogamous pairs. It would cause great distress to these animals should these any of these bonds be broken,” Fox said.