Who will speak out the American beaver in El Paso?

American beaver swimming in a small canal west of the Montoya – Meadowlark intersection in the Upper Valley

On June 25 distinguished El Paso biologist, Dr. Ad Konings, went birding at the El Paso Country Club and found a beaver in a small canal west of the Montoya – Meadowlark intersection.  As he approached this very rare animal for El Paso and the largest rodent in North America, the beaver did what most beavers do when alarmed. With its most noticeable long, flat, black tail, the beaver slapped its tail against the water possibly to warn others in the canal.  Along the ditch there was some heavy machinery that had apparently removed the reeds from the south side of the canal.  Konings was afraid that the machinery was going to clear out the whole canal and impact the life of the beaver(s).  He understood that nobody wants a beaver on his property chewing saplings of trees and wondered if there was a way to protect the beaver(s).

Waterways in this area are managed by the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1.  The Irrigation District manages 400 miles of canals including the international boundary with Mexico.   To protect beavers in El Paso we need to find out what happened to this beaver and what plans are in place to make our city a safe place for wildlife in El Paso waterways. 

Two days after taking making this rare wildlife sighting for El Paso, Konings returned to the canal and found a dead beaver.

At this time no one knows who killed the beaver and if local wildlife conservation officials were aware of what happened. I plan to look into it and hopefully others will join me. I have never seen a beaver in our area, but would be thrilled to encounter one like this. How about you? They are amazing animals when you study their life history.

No one knows how many beavers survive in our area, but I am pretty sure that they are not common.   If this beaver was causing a problem why couldn’t it be captured and relocated. Who will speak out for the American beaver in El Paso?  

I hope that you will share this post and speak out today.   If you don’t who will?

Rick LoBello