It’s Raining Beavers in Idaho!
Chamberlain Basin is the largest protected roadless forest in the continental U.S and is also home to a flourishing beaver population. These beavers aren't necessarily "native" to the are though In 1948, 76 beavers were relocated to Chamberlin Basin via an unorthodox transportation method - leftover World War II parachutes (check out the video below)!
As Payette Lake became more populated by people in the 1940s, there became less room and tolerance for the beavers as they were a huge interference to "irrigation and agricultural endeavors." The Idaho Department of Fish and Game decided they had to step in and find an entirely new home for the beavers. While there is a plethora of wilderness options perfect for a beaver to thrive in here in Idaho, getting them to that perfect destination was the issue.
At the time, traveling through the undeveloped, mountainous terrain of Idaho wasn't as easy it is today, especially when you're logging a bunch of beavers along with you. “Beavers cannot stand the direct heat of the sun unless they are in water,” department employee Elmo W. Heter explained in a 1950 report. “Sometimes they refuse to eat. Older individuals often become dangerously belligerent. Horses and mules become spooky and quarrelsome when loaded with a struggling, malodorous pair of live beavers.”
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game had to get creative and they sure did. Heter came up with the idea to make use of leftover WWII parachutes. The plan was to place two beavers inside a wooden box attached to a parachute. The parachutes would then be dropped from an airplane flying 500-800 feet above the designated drop zone in Chamberlain Basin.
Of course, a few test trials had to be done beforehand with honorary credit going to a brave beaver by the name of Geronimo! He was one of those older beaver and he was sent down to the ground with three young females for his greatly appreciated efforts to the cause.
Although it wasn't a 100% successful mission (one beaver unfortunately did not make it after his cable snapped :( RIP beaver) 76 beavers did safely make it to the ground and were back to living their best beaver lives in their new founded home!
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