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

6 thoughts on “Who will speak out the American beaver in El Paso?

  1. mike, myself and several of our friends have seen beavers in the rio. we always felt is was special, a gift from mother nature, that we were allowed to see the beavers. this article makes me sad. i hope you find out how this beaver died, i really hope it was old age, but if it is because if the careless if humans i hope we can find ways to change that.

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  2. I have seen two beavers, both in the Upper Valley. One was in the Rio Grande, South of Country Club bridge. That was a few years back when water ran in the river for longer periods of time. It was clearly a beaver because my dog scared it and it swatted its tail on the water. The other was in the drainage ditch in the same general area, the one that actually goes under the river. My son and I were fishing on a pipe bridge that crosses that ditch and it swam under us. It was preceded by a muskrat, which of course was much smaller. That same ditch was a haven for wildlife. We would always see raccoons and entire families of gray foxes there. That ended when authorities cleared out all the growth along the banks of the ditch as a result of that fire a few years back that started in trees and brush on the west side of the river and the wind blew over to the east side, where it actually threatened some expensive homes.

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  3. Someday maybe we will stop using the river as an irrigation ditch and stop trying to grow cotton and alfalfa, two of the most thirsty crops, in the desert. Let the beavers frolic!

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  4. We have beavers that occasionally show up at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park. I have seen one myself and the damage they do on the trees. Did someone collect the carcass to determine the cause of death? Myself and others have tried very hard to get the EP Water District #1 to only work in the canals during the non-breeding season to protect the birds. Now there is another reason to allow native vegetation in the canals.

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