Day 12

Day 12

An unexpected ally in fighting fires

The US was once home to up to 200 million beavers but once fur trading began in the 1600s their numbers dwindled. By the 20th century only 100,000 remained. Even after their fur was no longer in demand, beavers continued to be killed because they were considered pests.

When studies showed how important beavers are to the ecosystem, the misconceptions about beavers shifted. Last year Oregon passed a "beaver believer" bill, emphasizing the beaver’s role as a keystone species which protects them from being killed without a permit.

Beavers are vital to ecosystems, as their dam building habits spread water through parched landscapes. This can not only help to regulate the flow of water, it provides another important service—keeping fires under control. Beavers are nature's firefighters. Thanks to public support and awareness, the population has grown to around 15 million.

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