The Fur-Bearers society is offering a hefty reward for information surrounding the discovery of two dead beavers by Pitt Lake.
$1,000 is being put up by the non-profit association dedicated to the protection of fur-bearing animals, “for information that leads to the identification and conviction of those responsible for the killings of two beavers near Rannie Rd. by Pitt Lake in Maple Ridge.”
Lesley Fox, executive director of The Fur-Bearers, said in a news release, the two beavers were found days apart.
One was discovered by a local bird watcher on Wednesday, April 28, along the Nature Dyke Trail, who said the animal had been skinned.
A day later the second one was discovered floating in Pitt Lake. This one had allegedly been shot, Fox said.
“There are photographs, and it looks like in the photo and from testimony from the person who had discovered the body that there was a hole consistent with that of a bullet hole,” said Fox, who would like to see an investigation into the cause of death.
Both incidents, she said had been reported to the BC Conservation Officer Service.
Conservation officer Alicia Stark confirmed she is looking into the dead beavers, but the report she received stated both beavers had been hit by cars.
The beavers, she said, were spotted earlier in the year swimming in the water in that same area.
Nobody told her the beaver discovered in the lake had been shot.
She said the second beaver had been reported skinned. It is possible, said Stark, someone skinned it to sell the pelt. But, she added, they have no witnesses.
Stark also noted, they have seen no evidence of traps in the area.
“We have no reason to believe there is illegal trapping at this time,” she noted.
Stark said there is not a lot that they can do about the beavers at this time. They are simply too busy and there is not a huge public safety threat with a couple of beavers winding up dead.
“We’ve had a request that signs be put up or a culvert put in place to help them cross the road,” she said, but that is up to the municipality.
Fox, on the other hand, is concerned about public safety.
“The area where the dead beavers were found is a recreational trail used by families, children and people with pets who are out to enjoy nature,” said Fox.
And, she said, even if the beavers were hit by a vehicle, there are Wildlife Act regulations.
“You cannot possess a part of an animal without a licence. It’s illegal possession of wildlife. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act,” she said regarding the beaver that had been skinned.
Fox added there are clear and concerning public safety implications, and is hoping their reward will prompt conversation in the community and for someone to come forward to provide information to investigators.
“Beavers are awesome animals. It’s just super sad when things like this happen,’ she said, noting she will be following up with conservation and will honour the reward if there is a conviction.
The Fur-Bearers is a non-partisan, registered Canadian charity headquartered in British Columbia. It was formed in 1953 to advocate on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement. The organization also works with communities to promote coexistence and mitigate negative encounters with wildlife.
Anyone with information can contact the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 or online at forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/.
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