Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beavers blamed in deadly Poland floods: minister

Our old enemies, the beavers, are working their evil magic in Poland, according to this story in Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Beavers who tunnel through vital defences protecting Polish cities are partly to blame for devastating floods that have swept the country killing 15 people, Poland's interior minister said Tuesday. "The greatest enemy of the flood defences is an animal called the beaver. They live everywhere along the levees on the Vistula (river) and cause a lot of damage to them," Jerzy Miller told reporters.

An estimated 50,000 of the large, mostly nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodents live in Poland where they enjoy a degree of protection, animal welfare services say. But local authorities have upped hunting quotas for the animals in the wake of the floods. "Beavers dig tunnels in the flood defences, weakening them from inside. But they are not alone, there are also water voles," Pawel Fratczak, Poland's national fire brigade spokesman said.

Torrential rain in Poland's mountainous south have caused rivers, including the Vistula, Poland's largest, swell to levels unseen in more than a century. Flood defences have already given way near the southeastern town of Sandomierz and in Plock, central Poland, causing flooding in several locations in those regions….

"Nice flood plain you got there. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it." A yearling beaver, shot by Cheryl Reyndolds, courtesy of Worth a Dam, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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