British Columbia

Baby beavers in Olympic Village may struggle to find a home in Vancouver

A Vancouver Park board biologist says the area around Hinge Park can't support what could be up to 5 beavers and may have to relocate further away from the city.

Park board biologist says area can't support so many beavers at once

A beaver noshes away in Hinge Park at Vancouver's Olympic Village. Up to three new beavers are believed to have been born in the area. (VancouverBeaver/Twitter)

The struggle to find housing is a classic Vancouver dilemma and it seems even beavers in this city aren't exempt. 

A growing family of beavers living in a park by Vancouver's Olympic Village may soon find themselves struggling to find a new habitat because nearby urban areas suitable for rodents are at capacity.

Based on public videos and photos, Vancouver Park Board biologist Nick Page believes up to three baby beavers are now are living with their parents in Hinge Park.

He says seeing beavers thrive in the area is "generally a good thing" but it's prompted some concerns.

"The challenge is as the beaver population expands, that habitat isn't large enough to support even a pair of beavers," said Page.

Hinge Park, a man-made wetland, is considerably smaller than the usual habitats beavers tend to occupy — which means far less food.

The baby beavers will likely live with their parents for at least another year before a new litter comes when he expects the trio will be forced to move out of its current lodgings.

Page says it's not unusual for beavers to colonize small areas in the wild and "eat themselves out of house and home" before moving on to another area. 

But in an urban area, finding that next home is far more challenging.

Low vacancy rate

Page isn't sure at this point how, or if, the Vancouver Park Board should intervene.

Even if the city could get a rare permit from the Ministry of Environment to relocate several of the rodents, he says most habitats nearby like Stanley Park or Jericho Beach are already full with other beavers.

"Eventually you get to the point where there's no more spots for them to disperse or relocate to ... where do they move to?" he asked. "I'm not sure but it's a question for the future."

He says the rodents are highly adaptive though, and suspects they will find their own solution before the time comes.

"With wildlife they figure it out for themselves better than when we figure it out for them usually," he said.

Until then, he says he understands that the public interest is high, but warns against feeding the animals or getting too close.


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