Saturday, October 17, 2015

Grinding Stumps/The Waltz of the Beaver

It's that time of the season where we once again indulge in all things Castor canadensis, starting with this blushing beaver, which was originally intended as a rogue beaver but due to a typo, turned instead into a rouge. (More after the jump)

Image: Idaho Fish & Game

Via Boise State Public Radio comes a historical piece on "Transplanting Beavers by Airplane and Parachute" by Elmo Heter in the 1950 issue of The Journal of Wildlife Management (PDF here). The little buck-toothed Laika for the trial run mission was named Geronimo:
"And Geronimo’s reward for all his hard work was to be the first male beaver on a first class seat on a plane to the Chamberlain Basin. “He was sent to his own little piece of paradise, with three lovely young beavers," says Liebenthal. Three lovely female beavers. Once they hit the ground, it took Geronimo a little while to figure out his parachuting days were over, but he soon created a colony with his lady friends." - Samantha Wright

This however is sadly not the case anymore, at least when it comes to the extent which a contemporary Federal agency is willing to extend consideration and care to the Castor: an estimated 22,416 beavers were killed by Wildlife Services in 2014 alone.

Update: Hat-tip Tail-slap to readers Sam + Tania for the tip on the newly rediscovered archival footage of the Idaho parachuting beavers: the juxtaposition of gnarly hands stroking a pelt with a magnificent, stirring score and hearty narration (“…a most unusual and novel trip ends for Mr. Beaver”) is almost too much to handle - eagerly awaiting an IMAX release: check out "Fur for the Future" here.

On the lighter side of the log, we have in our community some folks who are professional fellers, of trees I mean... for some reason I just really dig their business logo.

And for a while there the default Facebook icon was a rich source of inspiration for an updated profile picture:

“Certainly in the beaver God has given a remarkable gift to this new country, a gift which other nations are so anxious to share; for there is perhaps no animal that is more wonderful.” – Father Francios du Creux (1664)
Random image post: "Waltz of the Beavers" by Erica Woodcock. One of the best-ever presents from a former student in the first-ever Cartoon & Comic Art summer course at UAF - it's been enshrined on a bookshelf (the graphic novel section, natch) for many years now.

Art by Erica Woodcock

Appropriately enough this picture illustrates the recent research on the differences between the cheatin' American beaver versus the behavior of their brethren across the pond:
But not European beavers. Not only do they pair up for life, a new genetic analysis shows that they are faithful to each other.

Never mind Howard the Duck, and forget all about Jiminy Cricket, here's Captain Canada's sidekick Beaver Boy. Check out this groovy sample excerpt from one of his adventures culled from Collections Canada's Guardians of the North:
After recounting his origin, Captain Canada returns to the studio with Pam and Beav. Pam is snatched and pulled into a matter transmitter! Beav and the Captain follow, but Captain Canada's supply of magic muskeg is turned into useless powder. While Beav leaves to look for a way to reconstitute the powder, Captain Canada is captured by the Media Master, who threatens to broadcast the Captain and Pam into the void of space. The Media Master also reveals that he is – surprise! – bent on world domination. Beav arrives just in time with the reconstituted magic muskeg, which permits the Captain to destroy the Media Master.
En stor hane, betyder inte alltid stor pung (large male does not always mean big scrotum)

Whoah man, and what better way to whet your appetite for more Castor after that than some yummy, traditional Swedish Snaps flavoring: Bäverhojt!....
Hat-tip/Tail-slap: Lisa Penalver

My personal favorite one of seventeen rare 19th century Maine trade banners that a group of institutions and individuals pooled their money to purchase:
In August 2010, 16 Maine museums, historical organizations, and their supporters came together in an unprecedented collaboration to save an important collection of Maine artifacts, the 17 rare, 19th-century hand-painted banners commissioned by the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association. The banners were purchased for $125,350 and are housed at the Maine Historical Society in Portland.
Hat-tip/Tail-slap: Gordon Caulkins

Gamers can be sometimes be a bit serious sometimes, and so here's hoping for a healthy sense of humor when it comes to pointing out the pedigree of some of their more manly marketing efforts. Which is not to say the little fellers can't be badassed in their own right:
WAKE COUNTY -- County officials said a beaver attacked two people at Falls Lake - prompting a warning for anyone who visits the area to use caution around wildlife.

Courtesy of Julie Stricker comes a snapshot of "Eminent domain, Alaska style," while out on a hike around the Granite Tors Trail in the Chena River State Recreation Area. A lodge has now encompassed the boardwalk and will presumably necessitate a rerouting of the trail. More power to 'em I say - turnabout is fair play.

And we'll close out this edition with the highlight of the entire series: one that got world-wide exposure from an incident right here in our neck of the woods... and yup, sure enough I’m mentioned in the comments. I do so love my friends: lost count of how many folks sent me or tagged me on this article!
The beaver wandered into the parking lot of the Lowe's construction and home improvement store on the Johansen Expressway at about 7 a.m., triggering the automatic doors and strolling inside.
Once inside the store, the beaver made its way to the plumbing department, where store employees attempted to provide assistance to the wild animal.
A cellphone video of the incident shows employees asking the beaver if there is anything they can help it find in the store. However, the beaver — like many construction store shoppers — seemed to prefer to wander aimlessly through the store instead of asking for help. - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


  1. Here is a video from Idaho Fish and Game. At 7:20 starts a "most unusual and novel trip for Mr. Beaver."

    Subarctic Sam

    1. AWEsome - thanks Sam!
      And I am SO totally going to use that line as a graphic novel: "A Most Unusual & Novel Trip for Mr. Beaver"