MORE THAN JUST A FURRY FACE International Beaver Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work of Denver's furriest engineers! As integral members of the South Platte River community, beavers are critical agents in preventing both floods and droughts. The dams that they build often flood the areas around riverbanks and create freshwater wetlands, which serve as a natural filtration system for the river!
THE COMEBACK KID During the 1700s and 1800s, fur traders wiped out most of the beavers in Europe and North America, while profiting off of their precious pelts. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that humans began to realize the important role that beavers play in moderating water levels, and advocates began to restore and protect the remaining populations of beavers. Today, North American beaver numbers have grown to about 300 times the size they were during the height of the fur trade.
IT’S A BIRD... IT’S A PLANE... IT’S... A BEAVER? When Idaho residents began to threaten the local beaver population in the late 1940s, scientists devised a plan to relocate the beavers to a less inhabited region of the state. Officials within the Department of Fish and Game used parachutes left over from World War II to airdrop the beavers out of planes into the Idaho backcountry. All but one of the beavers made a clean landing!
PARTY ANIMALS You can celebrate nature’s amazing engineers by heading down to the South Platte River and keeping an eye out for some of the signs of beavers, like teeth marks or lodges. Don't be disappointed if you don't see a beaver, because they'll probably be sleeping. Beavers are crepuscular, which means they are most active at twilight! Chompers, a SPREE force special agent and our beaver boss, told us that he plans to celebrate the holiday by treating himself to a delicious cottonwood at his favorite spot along the South Platte River.