In January and February 2023, the DWHC has examined four beavers for cause of death. Two animals came from the province of Noord-Brabant and two came from the province of Gelderland. One of the beavers from Noord-Brabant was stuck in a fence (see picture). The fence had been there for 50 years already, and in the last four years, there were beavers in the surrounding areas that did not have problems with the fence. The reporter mentioned that the waterlevel had been significantly higher in the days before. It is as yet however unclear if this is why the beaver got stuck in the fence. The organization responsible for managing the area has announced that measures will be taken to prevent further accidents and that part of the fence has been removed.
The beaver from Noord-Brabant that was stuck in a fence was a female animal with good musculature and fat reserves. Because the animal was stuck, breathing was so difficult that the animal suffocated. It is unclear whether the beaver was stuck under water. In that case the beaver drowned, but this could not be proven.
The other beaver from Noord-Brabant was a male specimen. It was found dead at the foot of a river bank. The animal had pneumonia and inflammation in the kidneys, and this was most likely the cause of death. The cause of these inflammations was unclear.
The two beavers from Gelderland were both male. One animal was found living, and died on the way to an animal shelter. The beaver had mild pneumonia and an overfilled bladder. This did not clarify the cause of death. The cause of the overfilled bladder was not found.
The other beaver from Gelderland clearly died from trauma, for example a collision: the animal had internal bleeding and multiple broken bones.
The aim of having the beaver as focus species 2023 is to collect more beavers for examinating the cause of death. This way, insight into diseases and infectious agents in the beaver population can be obtained, such as toxoplasmosis and tularemia.
Which beavers can be examined?
An animal can be examined by the DWHC if it has recently died. For example, animals that are euthanized or of which it is certain that they were not already dead the day before. When in doubt, it is possible to ask the employees of the DWHC. They will decide whether the animal can be picked up. If an animal displays abnormal behaviour, the DWHC asks that you try to film the behaviour. If you find the beaver when it is already dead, the DWHC would like a picture of the animal in the state you found it in.