Sick beaver chauffeured 400 km to new lodgings

File this story under "only in Canada." A sick beaver and its volunteer chauffeur have completed a 400-km road trip to an animal sanctuary west of Ottawa.

Beaver from Ottawa area will likely be released in spring

The beaver in its new home at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau, Ont., on Wednesday afternoon. (Submitted by the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary)

File this beaver tale under "only in Canada." 

A volunteer driver from Stittsville, Ont., has successfully chauffeured a sick beaver to its new home in Rosseau, Ont., nearly 400 kilometres west of Ottawa — a dam long road trip.

The beaver, whose plight caught the attention of many Canadians on social media, was found dehydrated, underweight and lethargic in an Ottawa-area backyard.

Mary Herbert beside the cage which she used to transport the sick beaver. (Janalene Kingshott)

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary tweeted an urgent plea for a driver to pick up the 11-kilogram beaver and take it to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, which is better equipped to treat the animal.

It took only 30 minutes for Mary Herbert — a self-confessed "beaver fan" — to respond to the request.

Beaver 'in pretty good shape'

"Where I live we have beaver ponds close by. It's just nice when I'm out walking with my dog seeing the beavers," said Herbert. "When an animal needed aid I figured I could step up to the plate and do it."

When an animal needed aid I figured I could step up to the plate and do it.- Mary Herbert, beaver chauffeur

So on Wednesday morning, Herbert and the beaver — safely lodged in a cat carrier —  hit the road and began the roughly four-hour journey.

Not only did she have to keep one eye on the animal, she was also asked by the animal experts to keep the radio off so the beaver could ride in silence. 

The original tweet that turned a "lethargic" beaver into a social media star. (Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary/Twitter)

"It was a beautiful, quiet drive," said Herbert. "He made no noise at all so I have to say I was a little apprehensive as to what I was finding when I got here." 

Howard Smith, managing director of the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, said the beaver arrived "in pretty good shape, all things considered."

As patients, Smith said beavers have "varying personalities" 

The sanctuary in Rosseau already has about a dozen beavers in its care at the moment. Smith said the latest addition will probably be released next spring. 

Beaver drunk?

It's still unclear what exactly happened to the animal.

The beaver, which is about 18 months old, would normally still be with its parents this time of year, but Smith said they must have become separated. 

Rumours swirled online that the beaver may have gotten drunk off fermenting apples.

"The beaver probably could use some coffee and a couple of Aspirins and some rest," opined one commentator. 

Smith admitted it's a plausible diagnosis.

"It's a theory," he said. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.