British Columbia

Port Moody to create beaver management plan after kit drowns during relocation

The baby beaver had been living in a storm drain pipe with its family.

Water-loving mammals had been living in a storm sewer pipe

A baby beaver, similar to the one pictured, drowned in Port Moody after workers tried to relocate the animal and its family from a culvert last year. Locals who had grown fond of the kit were reportedly "heartstricken." (Shutterstock)

The City of Port Moody is creating a beaver management plan after a baby beaver died during a relocation operation in December, leaving residents "heartstricken."

The kit and its family had been living in a storm drain pipe near Pigeon Creek since the fall. City officials said their dam was beginning to block the culvert, so the animals needed to be moved to avoid flooding.

Two adult beavers and one of their offspring were successfully taken out of the pipe in December, but the second kit drowned after workers set a trap.

Adrian Nelson, who works with the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, said locals were "heart-stricken" by the animal's death.

"[The culvert] was getting to be quite the gathering place and people dropped by to see the beavers working away there, so they were definitely upset when it happened," he said, noting that the kit had amassed a following on a Facebook group created by locals.

Proposal for management

After public outcry, Coun. Meghan Lahti asked city staff to create a plan that recognizes beavers as part of the community and recommends that beaver colonies should remain undisturbed whenever possible.

City staff are now preparing an official plan to present for council's approval. 

Co-existing with beavers

Nelson said he thinks the idea of a beaver management plan is a good one and says more communities are doing it.

"There's no reason we can't co-exist with beavers — other other than the risk to flooding and the risk to trees — it's not like this is problem for us. It's not like beavers are chasing our kids down the street or anything," he said.

"As long as we can manage the flooding risk ... it's a huge benefit for us as beavers are a keystone species in developing wetland areas."

Nelson said the family of beavers is still in Pigeon Creek and seems to be doing well — "probably a little heartbroken," he said, "but moving forward."

The city posted a statement on its website after the beaver died, calling it "a tragic accident."

"We know that Klahanie residents will be deeply saddened," it read. "It is the opposite of what we had all hoped for."

With files from Megan Batchelor