The news of UVM’s use of conibear traps to kill local beavers is upsetting for many reasons: it is cruel, likely to prove ineffective, and undervalues the benefits beavers provide to the local landscape.
UVM has chosen to use the conibear trap, which often kills beavers slowly and painfully. It also kills without discretion. There are countless stories of family dogs who suffered gruesome deaths in the metal jaws of these traps. While dogs may not be a primary concern in Centennial Woods, UVM’s traps are sure to kill additional wildlife in the same horrific manner.
Moreover, the traps are likely to fail in their objective, as it is probable that even if the current beavers are killed, more will move into the same area.
The indiscriminate killing also undermines the benefit of beaver activities and beaver ponds, which create and sustain wetlands, protect ecosystems, and support biodiversity.
If we cannot coexist with the beavers, we must at least explore more humane methods for dealing with this issue. There are multiple ways in which we can prevent possible harm without applying lethal techniques, including bafflers or levelers, which control the water level without disturbing the beavers.
The solution UVM has produced is no solution at all — it is merely further destruction of the delicate ecosystem the university purports to care about. It is my hope that those responsible for this decision will use empathy, facts, and humane alternatives to reconsider their “solution” to this issue.
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