Angela Ell lives near Wascana Park and says she often goes there for walks and bike rides. She also greatly enjoys seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat, she says.
Yet one day last fall, she says she noticed that members from a family of beavers she normally sees there were suddenly gone.
“I saw workers and so I just casually asked them what’s going on with the beavers and then the horrible story started on how they do trap and then kill them because they do consider them pests,” Ell says.
She began writing the Wascana Centre and province letters after learning about what she calls the “shocking” news, but says she never got a sufficient response, despite several attempts at communication.
Ell says she spoke with another park worker and was surprised to learn why park staff were instructed not to use a live trap to safely re-locate the beavers.
“He told me then that he was told there’s no money in the budget for a live trap or the manpower,” Ell says.
Salthaven, an animal rescue and rehabilitation organization in Regina, says it has offered to help move the beavers if resources are an issue.
Additionally, Salthaven says there are other animal rehabilitation organizations across the province that could potentially help out.
As of now, the organization has not been taken up on their offer.
The Wascana Centre, a part of the Provincial Capital Commission (PCC), says it has looked at a number of options to minimize beaver damage, such as wrapping trees.
“The activities of beaver(s) can impact the environment,” the PCC writes in a statement.
“Some of the impacts in Wascana Centre include the destruction of trees and the loss of stabilizing shoreline vegetation.”
The statement says that an ecology team continually monitors wildlife throughout the centre, and that it works within federal and provincial guidelines.
The commission also maintains that it strives to be “innovative, humane and sustainable for the entire ecosystem at Wascana Centre.”
It adds opportunities for live relocation of the beavers are being explored.
“This process requires training, research into safe places to take the beavers, a change in licence, and staffing required to transport beavers approximately six times a year,” the statement says.
The commission did not specify if and when alternative methods may actually be used on the beavers.
Concerned residents say they just want the centre to stop killing the beavers.
“I just don’t understand why this is necessary to be doing and especially if there is an organization in the city willing to provide the traps and the manpower,” says Gale Russell, a long-time area resident.
“All they’re going to be doing is creating a piece of bare ground essentially and another beaver is going to be moving in, so it’s not even going to solve the problem,” says nearby resident Jim Elliott.
“This is a natural system for beavers to be in,” Elliott adds.