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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Emerging Science Note/Beaver in the Bronx

Air Date: Week of

Jose mugs for the cameras. (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/ (c) Wildlife Conservation Society)

The beaver is back in New York City after a 200 year absence. Meghan Vigeant reports.


CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. Coming up a giant mill complex from the industrial revolution is being reclaimed for today’s new green revolution. But first this Note on Emerging Science from Meghan Vigeant.

[LEAVE IT TO BEAVER THEME: David Kahn, Melvyn Leonard & Mort Greene “The Toy Parade (‘Leave It To Beaver’ Theme)” from ‘All Time Top 100 TV Themes (Disc 2)’ (TVT - 2005)]

VIGEANT: Haven’t seen the beaver in a while? For New Yorkers it’s been two hundred years. But New York State’s official animal is back in the city making a home along the Bronx River.
New York was once full of beavers. In the days of New Amsterdam, beaver pelts were so plentiful they were used as currency. But demand for fur depleted the beaver population not only in New York, but across the country. As the city grew, so did pollution and its rivers largely became dumping grounds squeezing out wildlife.

Jose mugs for the cameras. (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/ (c) Wildlife Conservation Society)

But in the 1990s U.S. Representative Jose Serrano, of the Bronx, secured federal funds to help the Wildlife Conservation Society clean up the Bronx River. The Society, which is based at the Bronx Zoo, worked to establish greenways, eradicate invasive species, and introduce river herring. Today New Yorkers can find 45 species of fish in the Bronx River, as well as turkey, deer and coyotes along its banks. And the newest neighbor to move in is a beaver named Jose, in honor of Jose Serrano.

Jose's home in the Bronx, NY. (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/ (c) Wildlife Conservation Society)

The Society’s Stephen Sautner, says he’s hopeful Jose will find a mate and that more beavers will recolonize from the Upper Bronx River. So will New Yorkers see a busy beaver family swimming the Bronx someday soon? Guess we’ll leave it to Jose.

That’s this week’s note on emerging science. I’m Meghan Vigeant.



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