Rehabilitators rescue 5 orphaned baby beavers from Adirondack Mountains

Regional News

Licensed veterinary technician Niki Mitchell at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital is shown with one of the orphaned beaver kits.
Credit: Carol Jennings/Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y. (WWTI) — A group of baby beaves has traveled more in the first few weeks of their lives than the species typically travels in a lifetime.

A litter of five beaver kits was recently rescued and rehabilitated by the staff at the Cornell Wildlife Hospital. All five kits were orphaned after their parents were trapped in Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains.

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The young beavers were then rescued and sent to licensed wildlife rehabilitators in western New York.

Leading the rehabilitating team was Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital Section Chief Sara Childs-Sanford.

According to Childs-Sanford, at approximately three weeks old, the kits’ health started to deteriorate as they developed severe diarrhea. All five were transferred to Cornell in Ithaca, New York for further care.

At the facility, Childs-Sanford and her team ran tests and determined the kits were suffering from bacterial enteritis due to Escherichia coli. Only three responded well to the treatment, but the bacteria lead to the death of two kits. The remaining beavers then required “attentive care.” The litter swam three or four times a day in a constantly refreshed tub at the wildlife hospital.

After concluding treatment, and at approximately five weeks old, the healthy beavers made the trip back to western New York for rehabilitation.

Childs-Sanford confirmed that the three kits will not reach maturity until they reach two years old. This means they cannot be safely released for at least another year and a half.

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“They have quite a long road of rehab ahead of them,” stated Childs-Sanford. “We’re keeping them well hydrated and giving them lots of food and heat support, and they all are improving at this point.”

Watch a short documentary-style video on the baby beavers journey below:

The Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital provides expert medical and surgical care for more than 1,000 patients annually. It is open to receive injured native New York wildlife every day of the year.

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