Beavers, like Rudy, have been inhabitants of the North Thompson Valley for a very long time. (Courtesy Photo | Frank Zmuda)

Beavers, like Rudy, have been inhabitants of the North Thompson Valley for a very long time. (Courtesy Photo | Frank Zmuda)

Valley Voices From The Past: Search and Rescue saves injured beaver

This beaver tale, written by reporter Elli Kohnert, was,published just over 20 years ago in the Nov. 21, 2000, issue of the North Thompson Star/Journal.

Hazel Dawes had taken her father out for his birthday dinner. Driving home early that Sunday afternoon, they noticed a beaver at the side of Barriere Town Road near the Catholic Church. Dawes realized that the animal was injured, so she decided to call for help when she got home to Little Fort. Due to an accident on the highway, she was delayed for some time, too late for any rescue effort.

Almost at the same time Pete Germain, a Barriere Search and Rescue (BSAR) volunteer also noticed the injured beaver. He stopped to inspect the animal.

“I couldn’t abandon him, just had to try and help him,” said Germain. He then contacted Larry Hooper, communications expert for the BSAR team. Hooper radioed everywhere he could think of to find someone to come to the aid of the beaver.

Listening to her BSAR radio, Aimee Campbell heard and responded to the call for help. She arrived at the scene, along with Jimmy and Fanny Bradford to see what could be done. The plan of action decided upon was for Aimee and Pete to get a cage and somehow persuade the large rodent to get in by using hockey sticks. The Bradfords took the beaver home and put him up in their large shop overnight.

While there his rescuers supplied him with water from the river and an assortment of food stuffs they thought he might eat. Campbell contacted the BC Wildlife Branch and was told to take the beaver to Central Animal hospital in Kamloops.

Young Trenton Bradford was very excited about the big guy in his grandparent’s care. He named him ‘Rudy’ and would not go to school Monday morning until he had checked to see that Rudy was still okay.

Campbell and the Bradfords transported Rudy to the vet clinic where he underwent a thorough examination. The beaver needed surgery to have an injured eye removed, and Rudy was kept in ‘hospital’ for several days for observation. He recovered well from that ordeal, and there seemed to be nothing else wrong with him. He reportedly was annoyed about being caged, so much so that he got to the point of vigorous tail slapping in protest.

Kurt Kier, the Conservation officer in Kamloops, reported that the Kamloops Wildlife Park was not prepared to keep Rudy as a permanent resident, and it was decided to release the beaver back to the wild. Kier said that Rudy was brought back to the Barriere area, to a location that was considered to be fair beaver habitat.

Rudy the beaver was one lucky rodent to have a group of kind and considerate Barrierites come to his rescue.

Pete Germain commented that he “just could not walk away from that animal”, which got Pete’s buddies diagnosing him with “having beaver fever”, which was actually most fortunate for Rudy, the Barriere beaver.

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