Friday, February 23, 2007

A Beaver Named Jose

A Bronx Beaver!

1st Beaver spotted in NYC in 200 years

NEW YORK - Beavers grace New York City's official seal. But the industrious
rodents have not been seen in the flesh here for as many as 200 years — until
this week.

Biologists videotaped a beaver swimming up the Bronx River on Wednesday.
Its twig-and-mud lodge had been spotted earlier on the river bank, but the tape
confirmed the presence of the animal itself.

"It had to happen because beaver populations are expanding, and their
habitats are shrinking," said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in
Syracuse. "We're probably going to see more of them in the future."

Beavers gnawed out a prominent place in the city's early days as a
European settlement, attracting fur traders to a nascent Manhattan. The animal
appears in the city seal to symbolize a Dutch trading company that factored in
the city's colonial beginnings, according to the city's Web site.

But amid heavy trapping, beavers disappeared from the city in the early
1800s, according to the city Parks & Recreation Department.
The beaver
that has made its way to the Bronx appears to be a male, several feet (a meter)
long and two or three years old, said Patrick Thomas, the mammals curator at the
nearby Bronx Zoo.

Biologists have nicknamed the animal "Jose," as a tribute to U.S. Rep.
Jose Serrano (news, bio, voting
)'s work to revive the river. The Bronx Democrat lined up federal
money for a cleanup.

"But I don't know to what extent I imagined things living in it again,"
he said.

1 comment:

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