April 7 is the anniversary of the day in 1948 that – and this actually happened – beavers parachuted into the Idaho wilderness.
Not their idea, I should say.
It came from humans working at the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
As people built homes near Payette Lake, they were running into troubles with the local beaver population.
A Fish and Game employee named Elmo Heter came up with a solution: move the beavers to a wilderness area where they’d be away from humans, and where they could help the habitat through their natural activity.
But, being wilderness, this area had no roads, so Heter had to come up with a way to get the beavers there.
What he came up with was parachutes, of which the U.S. had plenty in the years after World War II.
Heter designed a special wooden box that would only open when it hit the ground, and was thick enough that the beavers couldn’t chew through it and escape beforehand.
One male beaver, which they called Geronimo, served as a test subject, bravely enduring landing after landing in the special “beaver dropping box.”
He got first choice on where to set up his new habitat.
In all, they dropped 75 live beavers into the new area (sadly, a 76th didn’t make it).
And according to the Fish and Game reports, they thrived, though these days experts do encourage humans and beavers to co-exist, rather than trying to drop each other out of airplanes.
New York City is about as urban as it gets, but there is also some amazing greenery there, if you know where to look – and I don’t just mean Central Park.
A new map by Allison C. Meier called Great Trees of New York shows you where to find notable trees, including one that reportedly gave George Washington shelter during 1776.
Parachuting Beavers Into Idaho’s Wilderness? Yes, It Really Happened (Boise State Public Radio)
New Map Unearths New York’s Oldest and Rarest Trees (Hyperallergic)
Beaver photo: Skip Brown, Smithsonian’s National Zoo