Friday, October 2, 2009

Humans Are Despicable: Further Confirmation (Note: Disturbing image at end of post)

Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Image from Illinois Dept. of Fish and Game website

The natural area that I haunt is within two miles of the city line of a major Mid-Atlantic city. So, it's embedded in the sprawling suburbs and gets a lot of use. Nevertheless, it manages to retain many of its natural amenities.

Two years ago, I was walking along the creek that flows through the preserve downstream of the designated natural area. The creek flows out of the natural area and into a privately-owned marshy area that is crisscrossed with roads and railroad tracks. Because the area is marshy, and because the roads and railroads are above the level of the creek and the marsh, it is basically an extension of the designated natural area. During that walk, I came across a beaver lodge hidden at the edge of the marsh. I was ecstatic--beavers had made their way back to the watershed all by themselves--probably by migrating from an adjacent watershed where I know they are present.

Earlier this year, I began to hear reports of beavers in the tributaries of the creek above and below the natural area. Then, in the summer, a beaver appeared in a small pond within the natural area. I would see it every July evening that I went down to the pond. Come August, just as mysteriously as it appeared, it disappeared. I guess the pond wasn't to its liking.

Yesterday afternoon (October 1), a friend who roams the natural area even more frequently than I called me to report that he found a beaver washed up against a tree trunk in the creek with an arrow through it. It appeared to have been shot with a crossbow. I think I know who did this (he's notorious), and he did it just for target practice or maliciousness, since his property is not near the creek and his trees were not being damaged by gnawing.

There's really no hope for humanity.


Jain said...

I can't look at the photo. This is heartbreaking.

Scott said...

Thank you, Jain. It made me so angry, sad, and despondent when my friend told me about it. I had a chance to talk to the guy who I think perpetrated the act yesterday. I asked him if he knew of anyone in the neighborhood who was shooting at animals (other than deer). He looked downright coy, and said, "What, like foxes or groundhogs?" Yeah, or maybe like beavers...

Anonymous said...

It's hunting get over it. all predators do it. its the order of life.

Scott said...

Anonymous: Of course it's hunting, and of course all predators do it. The difference is that legitimate predators make use of their kill for food, fur, or other purposes; they don't just let it sit in the creek and rot.