[VIDEO] Beavers Parachute into the Idaho Wilderness
In 2015, Idaho Fish & Game caused a national frenzy with its release of what was thought to be a long-lost film.
"Fur for the Future," filmed 75 years ago, is a documentary unlike any other. In it, a film crew tags along with Idaho wildlife managers on a mission to repopulate the state's dwindling beaver population.
Then and now, state-sponsored wildlife repopulation remains a routine operation. And according to National Geographic, black rhinos and mountain goats are regularly put under anesthesia, hung from aircrafts, and released into the wild for the purpose of repopulation.
But in 1948, wildlife managers for Idaho Fish & Game were the first to translocate a cohort 40-pound beavers "by dropping boxes of them out of a plane" by parachute. But why?
Records indicate the managers had struggled to manage the growing population of people in search of fresh air and open space in Idaho's rural regions. Soon after the residents settled in, however, the beaver communities within those rural regions came under attack.
Residents regarded the native rodent as a nuisance for a number of reasons. They were annoyed by the beaver's tendency to fall trees and build dams that would flood and damage fields, orchards, sprinklers, and more. Because of these inconveniences, locals disregarded the beaver's diverse ecological significance to the area.
But Fish & Game knew beavers were essential in "establishing and maintaining wetlands, [improving] water quality, [reducing] erosion, and [creating] habitats for game, fish, waterfowl, and plants." They also regulated water sources for humans. So, rather than exterminate them, Fish & Game translocated the lot of them—76 in all—via aircraft.
Check out "Fur for the Future" below!