Blamed for flooded fields, damaged roads and the occasional death, the beaver, which has played a seminal role in Canadian history, is now viewed by many as a problem, not a point of national pride.
The beaver may be one of Canada’s official national symbols, as iconic as the maple leaf, but Canadians have a love-hate relationship with the creature, with the emphasis for many more on the second emotion, the New York Times reports.
Some communities in Alberta offer bounties on beavers’ tails. A mayor in Quebec has called for them to be “eradicated.” Fingers of blame frequently point their way, rightly or wrongly, for highway washouts, including some with fatal consequences. Farmers look on with despair as their land vanishes beneath a beaver pond.
For the second time in the past 15 years, Colleen Watson watched this summer as beavers flooded a 100-acre woodlot in the Atlantic province of New Brunswick that her grandfather, a blacksmith, took as payment from a customer during the Great Depression.
“I love to see the nature, right? You can watch it do its thing,” Mrs. Watson said in a tone more of exasperation than anger with the animal. “The hate is what it’s done to my property.”
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