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More than half a century ago a group of beavers parachuted into the Idaho backcountry. Now officials have discovered 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. Then wildlife managers settled on a novel idea. They caught beavers and other furry rodents and packed them into special travel boxes. Then they attached parachutes and dropped them from a plane into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
Animal lovers, take heart. It looks like all the beavers made it through their flying adventures unharmed.
The film made around 1950 was dubbed "Fur for the Future." It showed the infamous beaver drops. It had long been lost, Boise State Public Radio reported.
Fish and Game historian Sharon Clark recently found the fragile film. It 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 relocating beavers still happens today. But it is done in a less dramatic fashion.
"We haven't done airplane drops for 50-plus years. 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. They do it 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.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did officials use parachutes instead of trucks to send beavers to new homes?
Write your answers in the comments section below