Colorado Has a Complicated Relationship + Past with Beavers
While they're not the kind of wild animal we see frequently, beavers are native to Colorado and have a long, yet complicated history with humans in the area. Beavers have been considered a valuable animal to hunt, a nuisance, and potentially a godsend in our great state. As they say, it's complicated.
What Species of Beaver is Native to Colorado?
The only species of beaver that calls Colorado home is the Castor canadensis, or the North American Beaver, and is considered a keystone species in the state.
Colorado Beavers: A Complicated History
Back when the state of Colorado was in its infancy in the early to mid-1800s, gold and silver mining was widespread. However, these settlers were also heavily involved in the fur trade and beavers were hunted en masse.
Beaver hunting peaked in the 1830s, but changes in fashion and a declining population of the animals prompted an end to the fur trade in 1840. However, it wouldn't be until the year 1900 that Colorado began to restrict beaver trapping to restore the species.
Are Beavers in Colorado Considered a Nuisance?
Beavers in Colorado have historically caused the most headaches for farmers and ranchers and it is still legal for them to trap destructive beavers for a 30-day period each year.
These animals have also been known to dam up waterways and cause flooding in areas across the state and preventative measures are often taken to discourage them from doing so.
Are Beavers Beneficial in Colorado?
Despite being considered a nuisance to some, recent studies have shown that beavers can also be highly beneficial to the state's environment.
Abandoned mines throughout the state are notorious for being toxic and polluting the nearby water supply, but a group called the Colorado Beaver Working Group sees beavers as a viable solution to this particular problem as their dams and ponds offer a long-term solution to it.