Beavers have a habit of getting too close and too comfortable with city life. Over the years, the Idaho Fish and Game department has tried its best to keep them safely away from the hustle and bustle. To this end, the agency has experimented with a number of different tactics—but one idea from 1948 really jumps out.
Back then, Idaho Fish and Game employee Elmo Heter decided that the best place for these beavers would be a remote area called Chamberlain Basin (now part of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area). The habitat would have all the amenities the beavers needed, and would be far away from human activity. Unfortunately, because of its remote location, there were no roads to get there.
The only logical solution? Planes.
Apparently, horses and mules were easily spooked by the beavers—their constant movement and pungent smell made them unnerving to carry. So Heter decided to try flying the beavers in. This was right after World War II and there was a surplus of parachutes, so the proposed plan re-purposed supplies that would otherwise sit around in storage.
With the help of test pilot beaver Geronimo, Heter created a special wooden box that opened on impact. In total, 76 beavers were dropped in Chamberlain Basin, with all but one surviving. They went on to live fruitful, busy lives in their remote new home.
The story of the furry skydivers may sound too silly to be true, but there is video evidence. Fish and Game historian Sharon Clark found the forgotten footage, and thanks to the magic of the Internet, we can all enjoy it.
Header image via YouTube.