Disappointment over beaver killings at Yukon golf course

Course's owner says he's disappointed the Yukon government didn't try harder to save the beaver family.

5 beavers killed this week because they were damming culverts along the Alaska Highway

Some Yukoners are upset with the Yukon government for killing beavers in Whitehorse. The government says the animals had to be destroyed because they were building dams that were blocking a culvert on the Alaska Highway.

Jeff Luehmann, owner of Meadow Lake Golf Course, says he's disappointed the government didn't try harder to save the beaver family. The beavers had been living on the golf course for a number of years. But, this spring, they set up home across the Alaska Highway from the golf course 

When the beavers began damming culverts, the Department of Highways and Public Works asked conservation officers to get rid of them. Five of the animals were shot this week.

"My understanding is they've been shot by conservation and I think it's hypocritical of them to do that, I'm actually quite disgusted," says Leuhmann.

He says when the beavers first moved onto his golf course, conservation officers advised him on how to co-exist with the animals. He says they also praised him for finding ways to do so. 

Now he questions why the government didn't accept help offered by an animal protection group.

Earlier this week, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization offered to come to the beaver's rescue. The Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals said it would install fences or flow devices that would re-direct the beavers to other areas.

"The same weir system and the same devices that the advocacy group is now talking about was offered to me through conservation at the same time a couple of years ago, so they were actually aware of it, they directed me to some really, really good web sites," Leuhmann says.

Doris Wurfbaum, with Yukon Highways and Public Works, says the department tried alternatives, but she says they didn't work.

"Nobody likes to do this type of thing, no (conservation officer), no government person. It's a main artery, the Alaska Highway, for Yukoners and having a flood in that area would have been very costly."

Wurfbaum says the beavers would eventually have closed the highway.