Bronx, NY – Sept. 17, 2010
– New York City’s known beaver
population doubled since Bronx River resident – José the Beaver – was
discovered in early 2007 living near the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx
Zoo. A second beaver was recently spotted and photographed with José near
the shore of the only freshwater river in New York City.
Wild beavers have been absent
within the city limits since colonial times when the species was hunted to
local extinction for its luxurious pelt. The beaver is the state mammal of New
York and the animal whose image adorns the official seal of New York City.
“The return of beavers to the
Bronx River is a true testament to nature’s ability to rebound even in the most
urban setting,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public
Affairs. “The Bronx River is a wonderful resource for the community.
The fact that the river is once again supporting a thriving population of
beavers as well as other wildlife is more than encouraging – it is proof that
nature can succeed if given the opportunity.”
When José was discovered in
2007, WCS’s Bronx Zoo employees named him in honor of U.S. Rep. José E. Serrano
(D-Bronx) who continues to be a tireless advocate for the Bronx River. This time, zoo staffers are asking for help naming José’s counterpart. Because it has not been determined if the newly discovered beaver is a male or
female, the zoo has narrowed the choices to five names:
Castor - the Latin name for
the North American beaver is Castor
- as in Justin Beaver
Bobbie - in memoriam of
a Bronx Zoo staff member’s beloved cat
Chompers - beavers have powerful jaws and can fell large trees
with their teeth
Wally - as in
Wally and the Beaver from the 1950s era sit-com “Leave It to Beaver”
Everyone is invited to vote
for their favorite at www.bronxzoo.com.
The online poll will be open from Friday, Sept. 17 to Friday, Sept. 24. The winning name will be announced on Tuesday, Sept 28.
“Doubling the beaver
population of the Bronx River with the arrival of a new friend for José the
Beaver is great news,” said Serrano who has helped secure more than $30
million in federal grants for the Bronx River's restoration during the past
decade. “The ongoing return of wildlife to the Bronx River is a sign that
our environmental restoration project is an unqualified success. Our community
is grateful to have a renewed river and a new beaver resident.”
In addition to its global
conservation programs, WCS is working locally to conserve wildlife and wild
places in New York City. WCS is working with National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to manage a federal grant secured by Serrano
intended to ecologically restore South Bronx waterfront. The partnership
has seen considerable success from the 2006 reintroduction of alewife, a type
of river herring, to the recently discovered population of beavers. In
August, WCS announced it will study alewives as part of the newly launched New
York Seascape initiative – a marine conservation program aimed at protecting
the waters and marine life surrounding New York City.
Linda Cox, Bronx River Administrator
for the New York City Parks Department and executive director of the Bronx
River Alliance, said: “We are thrilled that José the Beaver has found a friend
– and quite possibly a mate – on the Bronx River. The Bronx River
Alliance Conservation Crew and all of our community partners, supported with
significant funding from congressman Jose E. Serrano’s WCS-NOAA Lower Bronx
River Partnership, have transformed what was once a trash-strewn, weed-choked
river into viable habitat for new wildlife — and a great place for people as
Beavers are North America’s
largest rodents, with a combined head and body length between two and three
feet, and weighing between 25 and 55 pounds, with a few specimens weighing up
to 90 pounds. The distinctively flat tail is between 9 inches and 1-and-a-half
feet in length, and is used for steering the animal while swimming, fat storage
during winter, and creating a loud slapping sound on the surface of the water
for either scaring off intruders or warning other beavers of potential danger.
Aside from its size, the
beaver is better known as one of nature’s great engineers, able to alter its
environment by felling large trees with its powerful gnawing teeth and through
the construction of dams and lodges. Although sometimes problematic in terms of
flooding and property damage, dams also create additional habitat for other
species in the form of ponds, which serve to purify running water through the
removal of silt.
Contact:Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; firstname.lastname@example.org Steve Fairchild –
The Wildlife Conservation
Society saves wildlife and wild
places worldwide We do so through science, global conservation,
education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife
parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change
attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in
harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the
integrity of life on Earth.
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