British Columbia

Beaver cull killed for now: Pender Island protest saves tail-slappers from Parks Canada plan

Parks Canada planned to cull the beavers on Pender because their dam has created a public safety risk.

Experts to explore special equipment to divert water around problematic beaver dam

Castor sacs are located near the base of a beaver's tail, used to mark their territory. (CBC)

Parks Canada has put a plan to cull a colony of beavers on Pender Island on hold in response to a flood of complaints by residents.

The agency has been struggling with what to do about the beavers for a year.

Their activities have caused water to back up at the base of the Greenburn Lake dam on South Pender Island.

Parks Canada says the situation is a safety risk.

"If the dam were to fail, it would have significant repercussions for local infrastructure and property," Parks Canada said in a statement.

The agency says the plan to trap and kill the beavers emerged only after non-lethal solutions were explored.

Staff tried removing the beaver dam and placed deterrents in the area — to no avail.

They also investigated relocation, but ruled it out because beavers are territorial and could impact other animals in a new habitat.

But when officials settled on a cull as the only option, Parks Canada received a flood of complaints.

Some residents of South Pender Island had even planned a blockade to save the creatures.

Parks Canada temporarily halted the cull earlier this week.

Now it says the plan will remain shelved as it takes more time to look at other options.

"Although euthanizing the beavers appears to be one of the few remaining options for managing this public safety risk, Parks Canada understands the concern within the community about this potential course of action," the agency said in a statement.

Parks Canada is now bringing in experts to examine whether special equipment could be used to divert water around the beaver dam.

"Parks Canada will not move forward with euthanizing the beavers until all reasonable alternatives have been re-investigated," it said.

The beavers of Greenburn Lake, South Pender Island, have been spared as Parks Canada investigates other options. (Rick Price Photography) (Rick Price Photography)