‘He’s quite shy’: Beaver sightings on the rise in Calgary

Beaver sighting on the rise in Calgary
WATCH ABOVE: Beavers wreak havoc on the trees but others consider them a gift to our city. Residents say they seem to be more prevalent this year. Kim Smith explains how the city is taking a new approach to the rodents.

Residents who live near the Elbow River in downtown Calgary say beaver sightings are on the rise.

“When we take the dog out at night he’s often on the bank,” said Jenny Porter, an area resident.

“He’s quite shy. He doesn’t usually come close”

Although many consider this unofficial mascot of Canada a gift to the city, others consider them a nuisance.

“It’s not so bad when they eat the little trees but if you walk up the path and see the old growth trees that they’ve clearly taken huge chunks out of – that’s kind of scary,” Tobi Jurchuk said.

In an area south of the Safeway on Elbow Drive, a family of four has settled in.

WATCH: A beaver seen biting down a tree by the Elbow River in Calgary on June 6, 2016, south of 25 Ave. SW. Three other beavers were also spotted in the area.
Beaver quickly mows down tree along Calgary’s Elbow River
Beaver quickly mows down tree along Calgary’s Elbow River

The city started tracking beavers shortly after the 2013 flood and estimates roughly 200 beavers currently call Calgary home. (great line!)

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“There’s (river) areas that are slow now that were fast before so the beavers have access to trees that they didn’t before,” said Tanya Hope, a parks ecologist with the City of Calgary.

The low water level in the Elbow is also making for increased sightings.

The river has been steadily decreasing since the end of May, meaning the beavers aren’t able to hide beneath the surface.

“It could make it harder to get in and out of their lodges because usually their entrances are underwater,” Hope said.

Beavers have been considered pests in Calgary. This year, a handful have already been trapped and killed but going forward the city is trying to work with the beavers instead of against them.

“My job is to look at a balance of the ecosystem,” Hope explained. “Having beavers in the city and also maintaining our trees. So I look at a coexistence with them as opposed to considering them a pest.”

The city has been holding wiring events for people to take part in to help protect trees from beavers in parks. The next event is Saturday at Roxboro Park.