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Montevideo, September 23rd 2018 - 18:14 UTC

Argentina plans to cull 100.000 beavers devastating Tierra del Fuego woodlands

Wednesday, November 16th 2016 - 09:27 UTC
Full article 13 comments
 The plague of big-toothed rodents has struck in the Tierra del Fuego province, a far southern region known as “the End of the World.” The plague of big-toothed rodents has struck in the Tierra del Fuego province, a far southern region known as “the End of the World.”
“They can cut down a small tree in a few hours and a big one in days. We are talking about trees that are 100 or 150 years old and they do not grow back” “They can cut down a small tree in a few hours and a big one in days. We are talking about trees that are 100 or 150 years old and they do not grow back”

Argentina will cull 100,000 beavers which are devastating southern woodlands by gnawing down huge trees, officials said this week. The plague of big-toothed rodents has struck in the Tierra del Fuego province, a far southern region known as “the End of the World.”

 “They can cut down a small tree in a few hours and a big one in days. We are talking about trees that are 100 or 150 years old and they do not grow back,” said the region's conservation chief Erio Curto.

“They cut down trees on the riverbank so the water overflows and floods everything,” he told reporters.

Curto said Argentine authorities had signed an agreement to exterminate the beavers with neighboring Chile. The surrounding Patagonia region spans the border of the two countries. Experts in the provincial government said it could take as long as 10 to 15 years to cull all the beavers. The cull is backed by the United Nations and environmental groups.

Experts will catch the beavers in traps and then bash them on the head to kill them quickly, officials said.

A few dozen beavers were brought from Canada and introduced to the region in 1946 to breed for their fur. But their breeding has got out of control. Authorities estimate the beavers have destroyed an area twice the size of Buenos Aires.

“When I saw it I was reminded of Poland after the Second World War, where all the trees had been blown away,” said the prominent naturalist Claudio Bertonatti, speaking in a recent documentary.

“What had happened? Beavers, that's what had happened,” he said, interviewed in the documentary, “Beavers: the Invasion at the End of the World.”

Categories: Environment, Argentina.

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  • Marti Llazo

    “...what about the risk that they escape to the mainland..”

    They are already on the mainland and control efforts have been underway for some time by the Chilean government. The beavers have been found just to the south of Punta Arenas and I have heard reports of sightings near Torres del Paine national park. The chilean park/forest service, the CONAF, has reports of beavers on the mainland back to the 1990s.

    The beavers' direct felling of the trees in southern Tierra del Fuego (and on the chilean side of the main island) is actually just a small part of the larger problem. From the looks of things around Lago Fagnano, for every tree downed by beaver teeth, a hundred or more are killed from the effects of the beaver ponds' drowning the trees. Add to that the matter of the extremely slow growth rates for most native trees at this latitude.

    There was a beaver control agreement signed between Chile and Argentina back in 2011 or so but Argentina never came up with the money to implement it. We can guess where the money went instead. But part of the delay is also from the animalistas in both countries who are trying to prevent the eradication.

    Nov 16th, 2016 - 03:00 pm +3
  • Think

    Nothing wrong with it indeed Mr. Voice...
    (Did you noticed that Turnip ChrisR says above that he “never had the chance to try beaver...” ?
    That explains quite a few things, don't you Think...? ;-)))

    Nov 17th, 2016 - 05:49 pm +2
  • ChrisR

    @ Marti Llazo
    “The introduction of the beavers into Tierra del Fuego was one of the Perón government brainstorms.”

    That went as well as usual then!

    Voice/Think

    OK, you got me. :o)

    Nov 17th, 2016 - 06:17 pm +2
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