Commonwealth Journal

November 14, 2013

Beavers making comeback in Pulaski

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — “Beavers are all over the place ... in all parts of Pulaski County.”

Such was the response of Alan Sidwell, owner of Sidwell Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation at Dahl, when asked about the beaver population in Pulaski County. The question was raised after Larry Lyons, a resident of New Hope Road west of Nancy, brought the Commonwealth Journal several photographs of relatively large trees cut down by beavers making a dam in a pond on his farm.

Sidwell said beavers are making a comeback during the past 10 years.

“They are in the lake, in creeks, all over the county,” Sidwell said.

“I had to move a colony from underneath Lee’s Ford Marina not long ago,” Sidwell recalled. He said the beavers dug out a place in Styrofoam beneath a floating dock and had their young.

“I couldn’t catch them all ... I finally caught two and moved them,” said Sidwell.

Beavers cut trees along banks of a creek or pond and build dams. The rodents also drag smaller bushes into the dams and eat green leaves and bark all winter, Sidwell noted.

Lyons’ farm is bordered on the east by Wolf Creek near the Cumberland Parkway. His place is also bothered by wild hogs that have recently moved into that area.

Beavers are the second largest rodents in the world. Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was less than 12 million, according to Wikipedia.

The population decline is due to hunting for fur, and the rodents’ glands are also used as medicine and perfume. The animals are often disliked because their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses, Wikipedia points out.