Although Mayor Jim Watson and Deputy City Manager, Steve Kanellakos, attempted to portray the relocation at the time as a good thing for the beavers, no members of the media or the public were allowed to witness it.
Now, after much pressure, the city finally released a video last week that was supposed to reassure residents that the beavers had actually been released. Instead, it has fuelled concern and cynicism that the beavers may have in fact met a very different end.
The city’s video is purported to show the mother beaver with one of her kits in the water following release, indicating the other kit had dived under water.
“However, it is offensive to anyone knowing anything about beavers, in viewing the video, to suggest that this is an adult with a two-month old kit. The beavers in the video are of similar size and likely both adults or near adults,” said Donna DuBreuil of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre.
Stittsville resident, Anita Utas, filmed Lily with one of her kits on July 22nd. The video shows a tiny bobbing youngster, barely 5 inches long and likely just a few weeks old.
“So, just 45 days later, it is absurd to suggest that this young animal could have grown to anywhere near the size of either of those in the city’s video,” said Utas.
“It is also very suspicious that the video does not show the beavers exiting the traps they are in, as this would be the obvious and conventional way of proving they were, in fact, released. And, why has it taken more than six weeks since the event to get the video from the city? Nor is it believable that the video would only be 32 seconds long, so we will be requesting the rest of the video footage,” said Liz White of the Ontario Wildlife Coalition.
The affair has caught the attention of a well-known beaver organization in California which has produced its own video criticizing Ottawa’s mishandling of this issue. Using the lyrics of the song, Lies, Lies, Lies, it is giving Ottawa a black eye internationally.
“The Stittsville beaver controversy is one more example of why Ottawa residents want to see the city finally implement a progressive and humane Wildlife Strategy”, said DuBreuil.
Residents will be presenting Mayor Watson with a petition and comments from more than 2,500 people urging the city to rewrite the seriously flawed draft wildlife strategy and get on with the commitment made by Council in 2010.
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