Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – A litter of beaver kits traversed more of New York state in their first five weeks of life than most of their species will ever cross in a lifetime. This group of five traveled from the Adirondacks to western New York, and from there to the Finger Lakes and then back to their mountain home.

After their parents were trapped at Lake George in the Adirondacks, the beavers were rescued and sent to licensed wildlife rehabilitators in western New York. Although beavers benefit the environment in many ways, “they’re often seen as a pest, because they do change the landscape when they make their dams and alter water pathways,” said Sara Childs-Sanford, section chief of the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, part of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Their troubles didn’t end there, however. The kits, approximately 3 weeks old at the time, developed severe diarrhea and their health was declining, so they were transferred to Cornell University for further care. 

Childs-Sanford and her team ran tests to determine the cause of their diarrhea and found they were suffering from bacterial enteritis due to Escherichia coli (E. coli). Unfortunately, two of the five kits died, but the three remaining beavers responded well to treatment. “We’re keeping them well hydrated and giving them lots of food and heat support, and they all are improving at this point,” Childs-Sanford said. 

After concluding treatment, the three healthy beavers, at approximately 5 weeks old, made the trip back to western New York this month for rehabilitation and eventual release.

For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.