MILLVILLE – Beavers can be a help or a hindrance to landowners depending on the situation. Utah State University has a Beaver Ecology and Relocation Center located in Millville. They trap beavers then evaluate them and return them to the wild.

The facility is locked and not open to the public.

The Beaver Ecology and Relocation Center has become a valuable resource for landowners wanting to have the ecological benefits beavers have to offer.

Nate Norman, the lead field biologist, said they trap as many as they can during the season from snowmelt until the snow flies. He is trained and certified to trap and relocate beavers.

Norman works as a team with the Division of Wildlife Resources in his efforts to remove and relocate this specific animal.

“We trap an average of 70 beavers a season,” he said. “We have been trapping and relocating them for about six years.”







Carriers

Morgan Herald and Josie Hansen from Zootah carry the beavers from the Beaver Bunkhouse to a truck to be transported to the release site. 




Becky Yeager is the Beaver Bunkhouse manager in Millville and volunteer coordinator for the effort.

The Beaver Bunkhouse is like a hotel with several different cages. Yeager makes sure the animals are checked in and quarantines them to make sure they have no diseases. The animals are cared for and when she determines whether they are healthy enough for the large rodents to be released in the wild. 

On Tuesday, June 4, a group of about 15 people showed up to watch the release of the two young beavers they captured and paired up.

“We have two beavers that are likely fall 2023 kits,” Yeager said. ”They are unusually small to be subadults and too large to be this year’s kits.”

The two young beavers were separated from their families, and one came in with a bite mark. 

“The injured beaver was sent to Zootah where it was nursed back to health,” she said. “His name is Snickerdoodle and is male. Roamer is housed at the Beaver Bunkhouse and is female.” 

The USU team began partnering with Zootah last fall to rehabilitate their injured beavers. 

“We have decided to do an experimental pairing attempt with these two littles to see if we can get them to bond together,” Yeager said. “They are too small to be out on their own and we feel they will have greater success together with a reintroduction back into the wild.“

They didn’t want to raise the two in captivity for two years and then release them with little skills or exposure to their natural environment. 

“We began this introduction with intensive monitoring by our volunteers,” Yeager said. “Lots of interactions between the two beavers, sometimes aggressive, but a softening of behavior as the days have progressed.”

The staff felt confident the pairing was successful and the beavers were ready to be released into the wild.

The beavers were released in a safe and undisclosed location with few predators, available shelter, and an abundance of food.

The ponds beavers create help hold water and allow the water to seep into the ground and recharge aquifers essential to mitigate droughts and climate change.



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