SPWC releases pair of beavers back into the wild, gears up for busy spring season

A beaver that spent the winter in the care of the staff of Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre was successfully released back into the wild. Submitted photo.

Adam Prudhomme

In honour of April 7 being International Beaver Day, it only seemed fitting to check up on the beaver that had been in the care of Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre this winter.

Originally from Prince Edward County, the beaver was brought to the animal rehabilitation centre in Napanee in early December. The beaver was malnourished and wasn’t hiding from humans, which is extremely odd behaviour. He was also showing signs of mental distress. Following his arrival, the staff at the centre cared for him throughout the frigid months, ran some blood tests and helped restore his strength. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year.

“He’s actually been released back to where he’s from,” said Leah Birmingham, assistant director at SPWC. “The people there were very excited to get him back to be able to keep an eye on him. If he needs help again I have a feeling he will get it. He spent the winter eating winter eating wood and rodent chow and he got quite plump in our care and so we’re hoping he has a better chance at it this time at getting set up and establishing his own territory.”

Upon checking in on the Prince Edward County beaver, it was soon learned that there had been a second beaver in their care.

“We had another beaver in this winter that had absolutely no head trauma and it was just night and day between them,” said Birmingham. “The other one, not only would he lunge at you if you went near him, he just immediately went into the water and hid and was very good at avoiding getting captured and he did all the normal things with wood, the branches and the logs that people were bringing in. He would chew all the bark on the outside and stack them. He was constantly building a den when he was in here, whereas our Prince Edward guy was pretty happy to lounge around and eat and have an occasional swim. He was a little low key.”

The second beaver has also been released back into the wild. The two successful rehabilitations were a great way to wrap up the winter season, especially since this year marked the first time SPWC housed beavers all winter long in their recently built aquatic centre.

As the weather warms up, it marks the start of peak season for SPWC.

“We’re starting to get lots of baby squirrels in, calls about baby raccoons, calls from people that are realizing wildlife is starting to establish a nest in or around their house and needing some advice,” said Birmingham. “We’re encouraging people to always call us first, there might be a humane technique that we can guide them on to get the animal to move on its own and also reminding people that this is not a good time to be relocating animals, most of them have babies.”

All week long the centre has been celebrating National Wildlife Week, which runs April 4-10. The centre has been holding draws and posting educational videos to its Facebook page.

The organization of the annual Baby Shower is also well underway and will likely take place on Mother’s Day, which is May 9. Like last year it will be held virtually. It marks one of the biggest fundraisers for the centre. For more information, visit www.SandyPinesWildlife.org.

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