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Beaver evades capture, Summerside residents concerned for its welfare

A beaver has been snacking on trees at Heather Moyse Heritage Park in Summerside.
A beaver has been snacking on trees at Heather Moyse Heritage Park in Summerside. - Alison Jenkins/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Users of a Summerside park have been sharing the space with a beaver for the past few weeks. 

Trees chewed down make for a telltale sign. What didn’t have a sign were the traps set nearby to remove it. 

The traps are gone for now, thanks to some Summerside residents who spoke up.

Jane Pitre and Jamie Donovan-Gallant found the two conibear-style traps just off the edge of the trail in Heather Moyse Park.

“No beaver should die like that, in a conibear trap,” said Pitre. “There’s other ways to get the beaver out of there.”

Pitre and Donovan-Gallant went to the park and set them off so they could not catch an animal.  

“As far as we were concerned, it was just too dangerous,” said Pitre.

The traps were so close to the trail that a dog, even one on a leash, could have gotten caught, she said.

On Monday, JP Desrosiers, director of community services for the city of Summerside, got in touch with The Guardian with an update on the city’s actions so far.

The city is keen to stop the felling of its trees in Heather Moyse Park and sought help from the provincial department of environment. 

“A licensed trapper was hired, and I was advised a live trap would be used, however we’ve learned that the live trap method was not successful and the trapper under direction/approval of the department of environment was using a snare method,” Desrosiers wrote in an email. “Once we learned that a snare method was implemented, we asked the trapper stop this practice. 

“What we are doing now is reconnecting with the department of environment on what options exist, what considerations should be given, what level of risk and damage could occur if not dealt with and we will go from there,” said Desrosiers. "This is very much outside of our area of expertise.” 

He added, “We do need to ensure that tree destruction in this park is limited and public safety issues aren’t created.”

Pitre offered eight acres with lots of trees and a wetland for the beaver if the city wants to re-locate the hungry critter.

While not a wildlife expert, she has also read about other options like wrapping the trees with heavy wire mesh or modifying the dam to let a channel of water pass through.

“I understand they want to save the trees and the trees cost a lot, I get that, but I kind of just think the wildlife have a right to be here and we need to live with them better.”

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