Two words: parachuting beavers
Two words: parachuting beavers (Thinkstock)
Two words: parachuting beavers
Lexile: 1370L

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More than half a century after a group of beavers parachuted into the Idaho backcountry, officials have uncovered footage of the quirky wildlife management moment.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game was struggling with an overpopulation of beavers in some regions in the 1940s when wildlife managers settled on a novel idea. They captured beavers and other furry rodents, packed them into special travel boxes, attached parachutes and dropped them from a plane into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Animal lovers, take heart - it appears all the beavers made it through their flying adventures unharmed.

The film made around 1950 and dubbed "Fur for the Future" showed the infamous beaver drops, but it had long been lost, Boise State Public Radio reported.

Fish and Game historian Sharon Clark recently uncovered the fragile film, which had been mislabeled and stored in the wrong file. It has been digitized and released on YouTube by the department and the Idaho Historical Society.

Trapping and transplanting beavers still happens today - but in less dramatic fashion.

"We haven't done airplane drops for 50-plus years, but it apparently worked pretty well back then to re-establish them in remote places," said Steve Nadeau, Fish and Game's statewide fur bearer manager.

The agency now moves beavers to the Owyhee desert, in the state's southwest corner, to help restore vegetation stripped away by years of watershed use. Nadeau says the goal is for beavers to make ponds in the region, which can hold water year-round.

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Why did officials use parachutes instead of trucks to send beavers to new homes?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • brandons-day
    10/29/2015 - 05:49 p.m.

    I am not sure wether to think this is cruel or funny. This definitely is a creative way to move wildlife. I do ask myself how they were sure that they would be on track and made the animals made it down safely. I also wonder if the crates would open once they hit ground or the wildlife managers had to go in and manually open them.

  • ianc-day
    10/30/2015 - 11:34 a.m.

    That is a little weird but also a little cool. I've never heard of a beaver parachuting near a pond or out of a plane. That was probably a once in a life time opportunity for the beaver. I don't know about the beavers, but I would be mad about someone throwing me off a plane.

  • raymondw-day
    10/30/2015 - 12:22 p.m.

    It's nice to see people taking an alternative action to see how it works, and how the population reacts to it. Last year the first response to this problem would be to open beaver season till population is controlled. Instead since beaver pelt valuable they took beavers and airdropped them to environments where they would thrive. Also this might prevent the population from one day becoming endangered or extinct.

  • saraho1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    I think it is very interesting how they moved the beavers. I am also glad that no beavers were harmed in the process. Will they ever parachute beavers again? I can't imagine how the beavers must have felt.

  • austini-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    This article was very interesting. I never new that people used to do this with beavers but it sounds like it would really help the population grow.

  • alexisk-lam
    11/02/2015 - 11:48 a.m.

    Reading about transporting beavers was interesting, although i find it a little killing to take them out of their natural habitat and put them some where new to help watersheds.

  • charlottep-lam
    11/02/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    This document has very informative back round story behind it, and being able to still find results in the beavers flight in the parachute box is incredible.

  • loganm1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    I find it very interesting to know that people let them parachute the beavers down. But it's good to know that none of them were harmed.

  • dakotam1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    I thought it was amazing how the beavers parachuted out of an airplane because of over population. That was a good idea what they did!

  • jennaw-lam
    11/02/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    I thought it was odd they chose to parachute the beavers instead of using another form of transportation. When I first started reading the article I was concerned for the beavers safety and as I read further, I was relieved none of them were harmed.

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