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Here’s why Argentina is set to exterminate 100K beavers

Argentina is set to exterminate 100,000 beavers that have taken over and destroyed woodlands. The rodents were introduced to the region from Canada in 1946. Mario Beauregard / The Canadian Press Images

Argentine officials introduced 25 pairs of beavers from Canada to the South American nation in 1946 in an effort to promote the local fur industry. Now, the county is set to cull 100,000 of the large rodents due to their devastating effect on its southern woodlands.

READ MORE: ‘Most Canadian thing’: Ontario woman drives 400 km to help sick beaver

With no natural predators in the area, the beaver population exploded beyond control, the BBC reports. The beavers’ have officials in the Tierra del Fuego province at their wits’ end.

“They can cut down a small tree in a few hours and a big one in days. We are talking about trees that are 100 or 150 years old and they do not grow back,” said the region’s conservation chief Erio Curto, Phys.org reports.

“They cut down trees on the riverbank so the water overflows and floods everything.”

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Pablo Kunzle, park ranger in Tierra del Fuego National Park, on Argentina's southernmost fringe, shows off the trunk of a tree whittled down by beavers. Photographed May 23, 2011 in Ushuaia, Argentina. Juan Forero/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Pablo Kunzle, park ranger in Tierra del Fuego National Park, pulls an empty Canadian-designed steel trap used to control the beaver population along Beaver Creek. On this day, the trap turned up empty, but Kunzle said he came close. Photographed May 23, 2011 in Ushuaia, Argentina. Juan Forero/The Washington Post via Getty Images
At the Austral Center for Scientific Investigations, scientists study every aspect of the beavers in their midst. Photographed May 23, 2011 in Ushuaia, Argentina. Juan Forero/The Washington Post via Getty Images

It’s estimated the beavers, which have been known to cause their share of problems in Canada, have destroyed an area twice the size of Buenos Aires.

WATCH: Baby beaver found injured on Alberta golf course recovers in pool 
Click to play video: 'Injured baby beaver recovers in Alberta pool' Injured baby beaver recovers in Alberta pool
Injured baby beaver recovers in Alberta pool – Jul 7, 2016

Argentina, along with neighbouring Chile, have an agreement in place to exterminate 100,000 beavers, which they estimate will take 10 to 15 years. The cull has the support of the United Nations and environmental groups.

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