Depending on who you ask, beavers are either environmentally helpful or the most destructive animal on the planet other than humans. By the same token, the subject of trapping beavers or any other fur bearing animal, will lead to many opposing viewpoints. One thing we can probably agree on, baby beavers are certainly cute as a button. Watch as this trio of orphaned kits are being nursed back to health at Cornell University.

A litter of five beavers were orphaned in the Lake George area of the Adirondacks when their parents were trapped and killed. Rescued at the age of three weeks and sent to a Wildlife Rehabilitator near Buffalo. The kits became severely ill and needed extensive treatment only available at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, part of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Testing by Cornell Veterinarians revealed the beavers were suffering from of form of E.coli. Two of them succumbed to the illness, but the remaining three appear to be on the road to recovery, although there is a lot of work ahead for the babies. Treatment for beavers is more difficult than for most animals, in addition to needing fed and kept warm, the trio needs to swim to stay healthy. It's how they hydrate and perform the needed bodily functions, so pool time occurs three to four times a day.

Carol Jennings/Cornell University
Carol Jennings/Cornell University

Now five weeks old, the kits have returned to the Wildlife Rehabilitator in Western New York. They'll remain under constant care and attention until they reach the age of two, before being reintroduced to their native habitat.

Sara Childs-Sanford, D.V.M. at Cornell certainly sees both sides of the coin when it comes to determining if beavers are good or bad for the environment. On one hand they change the landscape when they build dams and reroute waterways, often affecting roadways or farm ground. On the other hand, when they alter waterways they bring water to stagnant ponds and create a wetland community for other creatures.

There are places in the United States where groups are considering reintroducing beavers as one way to bring water back to areas that are in drought and to research how they affect the landscape in this way.

Read more on the lengthy rehabilitation process for the trio of beavers in the Cornell Chronicle.

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