Metrolinx is battling ‘beloved’ beavers by draining the pond where they live

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Metrolinx is battling ‘beloved’ beavers by draining the pond where they live. Local residents side with the wildlife

Metrolinx is battling ‘beloved’ beavers by draining the pond where they live. Local residents side with the wildlife

Metrolinx, the provincial government’s agency responsible for public transit, has ordered an Ontario town to remove beavers that it says is damaging sewage treatment facilities.

A statement released on Thursday afternoon by Canada’s transit authority said its testing showed the beavers were getting into local sewers.

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“Metrolinx asked the Town of Bracebridge to remove the beavers as a measure to restore the wastewater treatment systems and sturdiness of the wastewater systems,” the statement said.

After failing to arrange for the beavers to be relocated to another community, officials said they recommended they be humanely removed to ensure the integrity of the wastewater system.

“Metrolinx supports the town of Bracebridge in its work to restore the integrity of its wastewater systems,” the statement said.

A bridge being built to connect villages around the Willowbrook wetlands complex of Bracebridge, Ontario. Photograph: Metrolinx Ontario

Controversy erupted last year after Metrolinx began requiring communities to install beaver-proof screens to catch the rodent’s urine. The squirming rodents regularly spread fecal waste on their leaves and fur, causing problems for communities.

While residents were outraged by the idea, there was little backlash when the beavers were left alone and allowed to drain the pond.

Native to eastern Europe, the animals come to Canada every year to mate and breed, causing mischief and stressing crops.

Scott Jansen, one of three residents who came forward to support the beavers, told CBC News that he was outraged when Metrolinx said they were too busy to relocate the beavers.

“The entire town has rallied around to show support,” he said. “The wildlife is absolutely beloved by the citizens of Bracebridge.”

Jansen said that Metrolinx was in a particularly hot spot at the moment and had other issues to attend to – he pointed to backlogged buses and technological glitches in Toronto as the other less-than-encouraging news.

Metrolinx said in its statement that the beavers were “routinely entering Bracebridge’s wastewater treatment systems and having adverse impacts”, adding that the municipality needed to “take immediate steps to address this”.

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