Vancouver’s Olympic Village beavers get cuter every day it seems – especially if their latest baby beaver Instagram video is anything to go by.
The baby beaver, also known as a kit, just can’t resist showing off his swimming skills for the camera.
The baby beaver looks right at home in Olympic Village, where he may or not have at least two siblings, depending on who you ask.
— OlympicVillageBeaver (@VancouverBeaver) July 5, 2016
But Nick Page, biologist with the Vancouver Park Board, told Daily Hive the kit – and any brothers or sisters – will eventually have to move on.
“The beavers we have in Olympic Village came to that site about a year ago,” said Page.
“We suspect they also spend time in Charleston Park. Neither of these habitats are big enough for beavers in the long term.”
Page speculates the little beaver was born in April or May. When he reaches a year old, Page says, his parents will have another litter – and he’ll be kicked out.
“They’re limited by food, running out of food supplies and end up having to move on,” said Page. “The baby beaver will have to find somewhere else to live that’s suitable.”
— OlympicVillageBeaver (@VancouverBeaver) July 23, 2016
Page said there are multiple beaver habitats in Vancouver, but they already have their own beaver residents.
The little beaver may have to look further afield and put his swimming skills to good use in the ocean, says Page.
‘Captivated by beavers’
Page says the park board isn’t planning on creating any new parks or wetlands suitable for beavers in the near future.
But, he says, the board is working hard to adapt to Vancouver’s resident beavers and sees the value in having the critters around.
Page says the biodiversity the beavers add the urban environment is a good thing and calls them “ecosystem engineers.”
“They have created some maintenance issues, they tend to chew down trees,” said Page.
“But they store water well, they like to keep water levels high, which is good for other aquatic species and during drought.
“The damage they do to trees creates dead trees which are good for woodpeckers too.”
In the end, says Page, the Olympic Village beavers are just reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.
By the end of fur trading in Canada, he says, beavers were hunted and trapped from their historical population of 3 million down to just 100,000.
And in Vancouver, it’s only in recent years that the beavers have returned.
“They’re recolonising their traditional habitats,” says Page, who avidly follows the Olympic Village beavers on Twitter.
Of course, it helps that they’re cute as hell.
“Generally a lot of park users are captivated by the beavers and you can see the value of urban wildlife in the city every day.”
Was just asked if I’m a platypus. I just swam away in silent protest. pic.twitter.com/Vtm5W5d8Gw
— OlympicVillageBeaver (@VancouverBeaver) July 14, 2016