A badly injured baby beaver who became a social media sensation last year has a new buddy that could help boost her chances of survival.
The beaver kit was admitted to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) in Madden, Alta., in June 2016 after being found alone on a northwest Calgary golf course with wounds to her tail. She was just five-weeks-old.
“At that age, she did require quite a lot of hands-on care,” Executive Director Holly Duval said. “Formula feeding, and supervised pool time, things like that.”
As the beaver was recovering, a video of her pool time posted to the organization’s Facebook page started getting thousands of views.
“She became very popular on all of our social media channels.”
To date, the video has been viewed 697,000 times on their page, with the AIWC estimating it’s had over 15-million views in total from all the news sites and YouTube channels that requested to run it.
WATCH: Injured baby beaver recovers in Alberta pool
On Monday, the organization announced the young beaver had since made a buddy.
In June, a male beaver found stuck in a northeast Calgary storm drain was admitted to the AIWC. The beaver had deep bite wounds on his lower back.
“We didn’t really expect that this new beaver would be interested in her at all. They were housed outside in adjoining enclosures … when the staff went out to feed them both one night, they found that they were interacting through the chain-link fence,” Duvall explained.
“It’s great for them, it’s great that they can be together in our care,” she added.
“It will make them stronger, it will make them healthier having another beaver as a companion.”
“Then, as they go out to the wild, they will remain bonded and they’ll do really well in the wild together — because they’ll have that bond and that security of one another.”
Duvall says the beavers are just pals, not romantic companions.
“They’re not at a breeding age, so we’re not concerned about having any babies or anything like that.”
“Their relationship right now is totally platonic.”
It’s expected both beavers will be released into the wild in spring of 2018.
“We want to supervise them as much as possible after their release to make sure that they’re doing well.”
GoFundMe account created to raise money for beaver care
With the young beaver buddies expected to remain in the care of AIWC for another year, the organization has created a GoFundMe account to raise funds to help care for the creatures.
“Caring for two beavers for nearly another year until they can be released is a huge expense and undertaking,” Duvall said.
“We are asking for the public’s help in caring for the pair.”
“With beavers, you do have to keep them for quite an extensive amount of time in care if they’re babies. So we reached out to a number of different wildlife rehabilitators to get more advice and consult with them about beavers so that we knew that we were providing the best treatment plan.”
Between the food, water and husbandry care, it’s estimated both beavers will cost $22,500 to care for.
“We are asking for the public’s help if they do want to support the beavers. We’re looking to fundraise just over $22,000 to give these beavers the best chance in our care, and also when they go back out into the wild.”
“It is very expensive to care for wildlife in general, but specifically caring for these two beavers for such a long amount of time.”
AIWC gets very little government funding and relies mainly on donations to stay operational.
Duvall says well over 75 per cent of the organization’s patients come from Calgary.
If you find injured or orphaned wildlife you can call the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403-946-2361.