Beavers on the move
Beavers are moving into northern Alaska.
Alaska wildlife officials say reports have placed the beavers as far north as 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle.
A drop in beaver trapping over the past two decades is also thought to be a major contributor to the beaver’s extended range.
Along with the beaver’s expanding range, trees also have moved north and west. In the Alaskan Arctic, shrubs have grown larger and taken root in previously barren areas.
“Before, there were no beavers there because there was no source of food for them,” said Patricia Cochran, executive director of the Alaska Native Science Commission and new president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.
“Now there are trees in people’s front yards. The treeline has moved so much farther north that the beavers are now moving into the area. That has so much to do with everything that’s going on in the environment.”
Cochran said she believes the beaver’s expansion is a symptom of global warming.
The beaver is blamed for bringing disease, interrupting fish migration patterns and blocking navigation routes in areas it was never seen before.