Two words: parachuting beavers
Two words: parachuting beavers (Thinkstock)
Two words: parachuting beavers
Lexile: 900L

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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.

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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

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

    beavers love to eat fish.the only problem is having to many beavers. then they eat all of the fish and when they run out all the fish are gon and the beavers move on. people make sure that this doesn't happen by taking some of the beavers somewhere else. this was a great article.

  • tym-orv
    10/30/2015 - 12:28 p.m.

    There were too many beavers in some area and not enough space so they were moved to a place where no beavers were. So the beavers were put in the special travel boxes with a parachute and put in a plane to travel to their new home.

  • nickt2-mil
    10/30/2015 - 01:42 p.m.

    They had to move them because people were hunting them.The only reson they parachuted them because the truck would not delevier them to the wilderness.

  • nickt2-mil
    10/30/2015 - 01:43 p.m.

    They had to move them because people were hunting them.The only reason hey parachuted them because the truck would not deliver them to the wilderness.

  • colbyc-jac
    10/30/2015 - 01:55 p.m.

    This is really interesting because first of all who does not like beavers, and who does not want to see a beaver jump out of a plane! When i get home i'm going to research the video of the beaver.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    10/30/2015 - 03:29 p.m.

    This article almost seems like it can't be real, not that it couldn't happen, but why is all I can say. Beavers are meant to chill by the river not be placed in a box and parachuted into the air.

  • katem-Orv
    10/30/2015 - 03:39 p.m.

    It seems like a good idea to us. But do you think the beavers thought it was a good idea? Imagine being the piolet looking down, seeing all of those beavers in the air, probably terrified. When I go home I will definetly watch the film on YouTube.

  • nikolasm-day
    10/31/2015 - 11:36 a.m.

    I think that this is ridiculous. What if the creatures were hurt? Then what would happen? I think that humans really need to reevaluate what they think is needed because dropping animals from an airplane is not the best thing we can come up with to solve this problem. I am glad they made it okay though.

  • andersons-gra
    11/01/2015 - 08:05 p.m.

    That would be so cool to see them parachuting. I wonder what they thought was going on.

  • autianae-ste
    11/02/2015 - 10:17 a.m.

    I think the parachutes and crates were pretty convenient. Transporting beavers hasn't sounded any easier.

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