Monday, April 30, 2018

BEAVER ACTIVITY

Photographer:  Brian Bailey

The Parks Department of the City of Toronto’s approach with beaver in parks is to try to strike a balance between maintaining some habitat for beavers, especially in natural areas, and protecting some trees (mature trees, significant species, trees near trails that could become hazardous etc.). Trees that are to be protected are wrapped with a heavy wire mesh, and monitored on a regular basis to ensure that they do not girdle the tree as it grows. 

To address concerns park users may have about beaver activity, the process is that reports are sent to 311, and then referred to the appropriate staff. When 311 receives this information, it is tracked.

Friends of Sam Smith Park has already sent in a request to have staff visit the park and assess the damage based on our own observations and those of others.  There do appear to be more felled trees this year than in the past and we are particularly concerned about the loss of cover along the banks of the large pond.

It is important to remember that the willow species and others that are their main source of food were originally planted in the wetland areas to support wildlife. 

Trapping is rarely effective. No matter how many are trapped and removed, others will generally take their place.  Some nuisance and damage should be tolerated.

Beaver feed on the bark of fast growing trees and they often gnaw on living trees just to grind down and sharpen their continuously growing incisor teeth.

Before Europeans arrived in Canada, it’s estimated there were six million beavers in Canada. By the mid-1800s, nearly all of them had been killed for their fur. We are lucky to have them back along our waterfront, taking up residence in Sam Smith Park and delighting visitors.

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