Thursday, 1 November 2012

castor fieber

Decades after the extinction of the wild population and subsequent reintroduction programmes in the 1950s, the beaver is making a come-back in Switzerland. Its successful return, however, is being threatened by the same human encroachment that probably caused the animal to die out in the first place: Swiss terrain and the roadways that crisscross it creates sanctuaries, albeit isolated ones, and beavers colonies do not get to sample much genetic diversity due to traffic.
To maintain and promote healthy populations, there should be congress between members on both sides of the Rhรดne. Animal advocates in the Geneva (Genf) region were hoping to make drivers more cautious and aware of the beavers’ plight and need for an increased range through new signage. The government of the capital of the confederation in Bern, however, did not appreciate this unsanctioned effort—though vetted by the canton. By law, the only official animal crossing traffic sign features a deer in a warning triangle—regardless of what might creep, fly or gallop into the road—boars, wolves, foxes, hedgehogs, bears, etc. I thought that reasoning was a little unfair and obtuse at first, but then I realized probably the same restriction is in effect in Germany, since thinking about it, I’ve never seen anything besides a leaping deer warning, except for farm animals and for frogs on the march. Maybe the government will change its mind and allow their signs, and regardless, the group and the beavers probably got more attention out of the controversy than had they just been left alone.