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Winnipeg man stunned after beaver shot and killed outside his home

There are approximately 100 beavers along Winnipeg rivers and streams. File/Global News

A Winnipeg man is calling for change after a beaver was shot and killed by a City of Winnipeg contractor right outside his living room window Monday night.

James Malzahn was in his backyard at his St. James home Monday evening when he heard a loud noise coming from Truro creek nearby.

“I heard a loud bang and first I thought maybe it was a car that backfired, then I was thinking possibly a firecracker or something,” Malzahn said.

READ MORE: Cute alert: Orphaned baby beaver thrives in Calgary care

“I left the back of my house and walked to the living room to look out the side window and at that point I saw a man in a reflective vest holding a rifle.”

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As it turned out, a contractor had shot the beaver that had been roaming the creek beside Malzahn’s home.

“If they have to remove it it would be nice if they did it and allowed it to live,” he said. “But the way that it was done was a little surprising, to be using a firearm in the city.”

James Malzahn hasn’t noticed any tree damaged that the beaver in his neighborhood may have caused. Randall Paull/Global News

The City of Winnipeg said it doesn’t relocate the animals because beavers are territorial and will physically compete for suitable habitat and moving wildlife can also increase the risk of spreading disease.

“We can’t stress enough that beavers are only removed when we have no other options for mitigating damage or danger,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“Some examples of property-based damage or danger are dams in drains that could flood City infrastructure or private property, and excessive damage to trees.”

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There are about 100 beavers living along Winnipeg rivers and streams at any given time and one beaver is able to damage hundreds of trees yearly, according to the city, which attempts to protect some trees by wrapping them.

“The City recommends that homeowners whose property has experienced beaver activity wrap their trees with stucco wire which is available in most building supply stores in 2” x 2” mesh size 48” in width using the full width of the roll for the height of wrap around the tree and allowing enough looseness for the tree to grow,” the statement read.

READ MORE: Beavers may be responsible for fatal train derailment in northern Manitoba

The City said one contractor is used about 10 times a year to manage beavers. A spokesperson said the contractor is licensed to carry and discharge a firearm and removal of the beaver is authorized by permit under the Provincial Wildlife Act.

Malzahn, who moved to the area because he wanted to enjoy the wildlife, said he understands some beavers need to be removed, but hopes the city will find another way to get the job done.

“If you have to get rid of them it would be nice to do it in a more humane way and definitely not with firearms.”

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