In Tierra del Fuego, beavers seem all too at home


In 1946, twenty-five breeding pairs of beavers (Castor canadensis) were transported by plane from Canada to Tierra del Fuego, the windswept archipelago that Chile and Argentina share at South America’s southern tip. The region’s first beavers were turned loose on the shores of Lake Fagnano, on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego’s main island, in hopes they would multiply and eventually support a lucrative fur industry. The fur-industry objective never panned out, but the multiplying part certainly did—with destructive effect to the island’s environment and economy. The large rodents, which as adults can weigh 45 to 60 pounds, have proliferated steadily in the absence of natural northern-clime predators such as bears and wolves. Now 100,000 to 150,000 strong in Argentina... [Log in to read more]

Would you like to Subscribe?