Thoughts of Beavers Keep Everyone Busy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 11, 1999; Page C1
A female was the first to fall for the trap.
As its captors yesterday vowed to maintain their vigilance over the Tidal Basin until the beaver's accomplice is in custody, beaver fever lingered in Washington.
"How are the beavers?" tourists and residents enjoying the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival demanded to know. The abrupt separation of the furry couple blamed for this week's high-profile attacks on the national stock of flowering cherry trees seems to have left many of Washington's humans in a complete state of angst.
"The other one's probably scared and lonely, wondering where his mate is," said Alison Holland, 45, who was on her way to visit the White House with her 11-year-old son, George. "I was worried about him. Now the mate's all alone. I wonder what he's feeling?"
Eileen Conway, 52, catching the Metro to Fairfax, also felt sorry for the beavers, which she believes are victims of encroaching development in the suburbs.
"Poor little things," said Conway, a housewife and mother, who has witnessed the damage beavers have done in her own county. "Unfortunately, if he's left there [in the basin], the trees will go. If you get a family of beavers, they can destroy a lot of property."
The captured beaver's new lodging took on the airs of a big state secret. Trappers turned it over to the National Park Service on Friday night, and that's where their relationship with the tree-eating rodent ended, said Michele Adcock Gann, office manager for Adcock's Trapping Service, of College Park.
"This is beaver night," supervisory Park Ranger Lee Werst said yesterday afternoon. "That one hasn't been spotted. This is the time beavers sleep."
The beavers are accused of the felling of nine trees, including four of the famous flowering Yoshino cherries. The first beaver was discovered over a week ago; its mate was spotted this week. The Park Service has received reports of a possible third beaver lurking among the city's most precious trees.
Three baited traps were set around the Tidal Basin at dusk yesterday and will remain there for the next several days until the perpetrator – or perpetrators – are caught, Gann said.
To Bill Ozborn, of Baltimore, who lined up on Constitution Avenue with his wife to take in the Cherry Blossom Parade yesterday, an absent pair of rodents were the main attraction.
"I had to see the beavers," he said, then chuckled.
One clown in the parade carried a metal cage and a placard that said: "Save a Cherry Tree. Adopt a Beaver."
Staff writers Patricia Davis and Lisa Frazier contributed to this report.
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company