The Virginia incident is the latest in an over decade-long string of rabid beaver attacks. Being a density-dependent disease, does the influx in beaver/rabies cases highlight a species that is reaching or exceeded natural carrying capacity? Are rabid beavers becoming more prevalent or are we just becoming more aware of rabid beavers?
In 1948, game warden and pilot Elmo Heter executed a plan years in the making to reintroduce beavers into the mountainous wilds of Idaho. The project gained international fame in 2015, when a local historian discovered lost footage of the program. As seen in the video, the reintroduction efforts didn’t stop at parachuting beavers.
Despite a looming state-wide trapping ban, millions in funding continue to be thrown at a growing nutria invasion. In a year’s time, California’s “nutria eradication task force” has set up 487 camera stations, conducted 1,600 camera checks and administered 995 trap sets. Farmers in San Joaquin Valley have donated five tons of sweet potatoes to be used as nutria bait, according to media reports.
City officials in the Riverside neighborhood of Chicago have announced warnings of distemper outbreak in the area’s raccoon population - and the hazards posed to residents, as well as non-vaccinated pets.
I’ve always been personally fascinated with the adaptability of fur bearers such as skunks and raccoons. In the aftermath of the raccoon’s “great migration” to man’s urban meccas, it’s almost hard to believe they ever inhabited the wildernesses of rural America at all - man was once a rural beast as well.