50 years in the past, the beaver was reintroduced in France | EUROtoday

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SImone de Beauvoir had the nickname “Le Castor”. This qualifier was given to him by his buddy René Gabriel Eugène Maheu, professor of philosophy and cultural attaché in London, considering of beaver, beaver in English, and which is pronounced nearly like Beauvoir. This nickname can be taken up and popularized by Sartre, who favored to name it that, and held beavers in esteem, animals “which go in packs and which have a constructive spirit”.

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My title is Castor, I’m an aquatic rodent from the Castoridae household. I’ve dense fur, small ears, large eyes and lengthy tooth. From a distance, folks confuse me with the coypu. I’m taller (1.20 m) and heavier than him (as much as 35 kilos). When I swim, solely my head stands out. The lineage of my type that led to modern kinds appeared 54 million years in the past. Our paths between the beaver of Europe and that of Canada separated 7.5 million years in the past.

We are monogamous. We stay in a household group (4-7 folks) and never in a gang, because the creator of Nausea. We should not fornicators like mole rats. After 100 days of gestation, my spouse offers delivery between May and June to a litter of 1 to eight infants. The juveniles keep together with her for 2 years earlier than colonizing their territory. No ” Tanguy » among us, these young people who are slow to leave the family home.

Humans hunted us for our fur

From the point of view of science, I am on the same level as man, an animal like any other. I don't have his exceptional faculties, like language or his relationship to the future, politics and aesthetics. But these abilities are, ultimately, only the result of adaptation processes. We are part of the same humanity, but we evolved differently.

I have things they don't have: my ever-growing, bevel-cut incisors sharpen on each other non-stop; my tail serves as a rudder and a reserve of fat; my claws allow me to dig galleries and carry loads. From a representation point of view, people love me as much as they hate me. The prejudices against me are part of a shared ancestral story, too long to tell.

We shared with man the same banks of rivers and lakes, the same forest edges. We have had positive and negative relationships. At the end of prehistory, hunter-gatherer communities settled in our territory to benefit from spaces with sparser vegetation.

Then, humans hunted us for our fur, our flesh and our castoreum, prized for its musky smell. Then, we became harmful, a source of conflict of use with the agricultural world, before being erected as a sacred species, an archetype of wild nature. My name inspired a DIY brand, the youth magazine Junior Beavers or the encyclopedia of stories, Father Castor.

The beaver reintroduced in France in 1974

In France, I am a ghost. In 1909, with the banning of my hunting, I was saved from certain extinction. Thanks to the joint efforts of visionaries, such as Jean-Pierre Jollivet and the Society for the Study and Protection of Nature of Loir-et-Cher, I found my rightful place in ecosystems in 1974. That was a half century.

To celebrate this historic reintroduction, the National Nature Protection Society, in collaboration with the departmental committee for the protection of nature and the environment (CDPNE), as well as many other local and national partners, including the Office French Biodiversity Fund, is launching the Year of the Beaver this Sunday, April 7. What an honor!

This morning, along with all the prominent members of the rodent architect community, we celebrated in grand style: we built a beautiful dam. A little clumsy, I flooded the house of my raccoon neighbor, who came out furious brandishing a willow root.

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Thanks to several millions of years of practice, I have enabled through my constructions, 100% eco-designed, to retain water, slow its flow, replenish groundwaterto overflow onto pastures, to attract wildlife. I work hard, neither with my hands nor with my feet, but with my tail and my teeth. I am like the craftsman, proud of a job well accomplished.

In a village in the north-east of France, a street bears my name: the “beaver route”. Should the residents fear me? No way. For a long time this road was lined with pavilions occupied by large and hardworking families. Generally, these households obtained the loans to buy their house from their third child onwards. These families worked hard to finance their homes, and in the factory, and by having children. The name alludes to my building tail, which serves as a propellant, and because I am considered a hard worker.

I don't bother anyone, I do my job, I build my house, I raise my children, I regulate, I maintain, I clean. I'm not a union member but damn smart. I am vegetarian, as were the first arboreal hominids, before becoming terrestrial carnivores. I feed on plant matter: bark, stems and branches, leaves, berries or tubers. My night and day vision are good, and my scent is much more powerful than that of humans.

READ ALSO Is it potential to be a (good) guardian to an animal?

A farmer cheered up like a cuckoo

With males, now we have neighborhood conflicts. This morning, as soon as the work was completed, we had a go to from a farmer, who was upset as a result of his area was waterlogged. Another criticized me for nibbling the bushes in his orchard. It's not my fault if I don't know the distinction between a wild willow and an apple tree. Talented builder, very gifted at modifying waterways, I’m able to inflicting nice destruction, to deliver my tasks to fruitionlike people anyway.

“The Year of the Beaver aims to bring together the actors involved in my preservation in order to build a national strategy project,” stated the press launch. Exhibitions, workshops, screenings, conferences converge in direction of the identical objective: to rehabilitate my picture within the collective creativeness. Be cautious to not sacralize myself an excessive amount of, as a result of like all animals, I do silly issues. This can also be no motive to crucify me on the city corridor gate.

Rémi Luglia, researcher on the Histemé laboratory on the University of Caen-Normandy, tells us in Living as a beaver (Quae, 2024) my story and presents attention-grabbing avenues in direction of a potential reconciliation between males and beavers. Live collectively ? Do not exaggerate, neither. Well, except people supply us acceptable cohabitation.