Wildlife spotted in unusual areas as flood waters push creatures out of homes
Photographer helps save injured beaver near Chaudière Falls
It was a sight photographer Sylvie Sabourin never expected to see.
She was out capturing the raging Ottawa River on Sunday afternoon, when suddenly she came across an injured beaver.
I could see his back leg was almost completely turned around.- Sylvie Sabourin
It was lying on a path, just a stone's throw from the violent waters near Chaudière Falls.
"At first it's like disbelief," said Sabourin. "It's like, "Whoa, a beaver!'
"I could see his back leg was almost completely turned around. Obviously something was very wrong with it."
Wildlife showing up in unusual spots
All sorts of animals — deer, beavers, groundhogs, and birds — are turning up in unusual spots. Wildlife experts say the flood waters destroyed animals ecosystems, which has pushed them out of their homes.
Sabourin doesn't know how the beaver became injured, but her theory is that the animal could have been washed away from where he was living, tumbled into the river, and managed to get itself out.
"I'm used to observing that kind of animal in a completely different context than beside a raging river," said Sabourin. "It's usually more like a wetland or marshy area. I was like, 'How did he get there?'"
RCMP guard beaver, until help arrives
Sabourin called for help. Two RCMP officers were nearby surveying the river.
What happened next doesn't get anymore Canadian.
One of the RCMP officers stood guard over the beaver until the National Capital Commission arrived, said Sabourin.
NCC conservation officers took the injured animal to a veterinarian where it slept overnight.
Wildlife experts say you can expect many more stories like this over the coming weeks.
CBC spotted a groundhog on the steps of the Dépanneur St-François in Gatineau. The store was surrounded by water, so the groundhog had nowhere to go.
Days later, there are reports it has died.
Other CBC reporters caught on tape several deer roaming around drenched fields near Lac Leamy, which raises questions about whether their woodland homes were destroyed.
'Be a little patient'
The president of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, Donna DuBreuil, said residents near flood zones can expect animals to show up in places like their backyards. She's asking the public to be extra tolerant of wildlife in unexpected places.
"This is the birthing season for all species," said DuBreuil, which often brings animals closer to people — and farther away from their predators.
Aquatic mammals like beavers and birds are particularly likely to be impacted, according to DuBreuil. Many birds nest in areas where the flooding took over, and their eggs and goslings may have been washed away by the flooding.
DuBreuil wanted to remind "people to just be a little bit patient and understanding that wildlife has been affected by this flooding as well."
As for Sabourin, she plans to keep checking in to see how the beaver she helped rescue is doing. She said it was heartwarming to see onlookers and authorities pull together to help out the injured animal.
"I find this really nice and full of hope," she said.