Idaho’s Parachuting Beavers Back in the News
75 years after taking flight, Idaho’s parachuting beavers are back in the news. They were dropped from planes and repopulated areas of the backcountry. They were being moved to clear areas elsewhere for new development. When the old archival film was discovered and repurposed for YouTube several years ago, it became a sensation. Millions watched and TV networks around the world carried the story.
According to atlasobscura.com, NASA has taken an interest. Satellite imagery is now tracking the habitat the beavers constructed. It allows scientists to better grasp how the large rodents can terraform and then restore former wetlands.
The latest story is twofold. There’s an effort to restore various wetlands in neighboring Utah. The pictures from space help scientists map out plans. These are then used to locate beavers. They aren’t being dropped into the backcountry. Instead, the animals are getting an assist on the backs of horses. The pack animals are carrying the caged dam builders to their new homes.
In some spots, beavers are restoring once dormant streams and expanding the variety of wildlife that then returns and follows the natural restructuring.
If you never saw the parachuting video, you’re missing a treat. If you grew up in the 50s and 60s, you remember watching old projector films at school. These were usually accompanied by hokey narration. You’ll often see these parodied on episodes of the Simpsons. I’ve posted the video below. The only thing lacking is the old clicking sound from the projector. It was hypnotic and often put some of my classmates to sleep.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow