Beaver Dams – Where They Shouldn’t Be!
Beaver Dams. They’re amazing feats of engineering. But not in a foreign environment.
Like Australia, Argentina hasn’t learnt the lesson of not deliberately introducing animals from other continents that might cause an environmental problem.
Check out the photo below – it’s of a Beaver Dam. It looks like any other Beaver Dam within North America. However, this Beaver Dam is located in the Tierra del Fuego region of Argentina, right at the southernmost tip of South America, in a National Park!
However, Beavers are a North American species!
Beavers were brought to Tierra del Fuego as a potential source of income via their pelts, but, with no predators and no competition, had become completely feral.
This was probably because most people preferred buying a leather jacket made from high quality bovine carcass caused by Argentina’s meat addiction (See Don’t Cry For Meat Argentina), than one made from a somewhat-unmarketable feral Beaver.
Hence, the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego inherited a large network of Beaver Dams. Whilst Beaver Dams are an impressive natural engineering feat of stick inter-twining from the animal kingdom, the Beavers had successfully drowned large areas of trees resulting in a juxtaposition of lush green, wind-blown sub-Antarctic vegetation, dissected by relatively barren lakes of foliage-free tree stumps.
So, these ecological stuff ups are pretty universal then!
More Beaver Dam Stuff
You can learn more about how Beavers build their damns from this Discovery Channel Feature – Beavers: Dam It All Anyway, and The Beaver: Natural History of a Wetlands Engineer.
Other things to do in Argentina – check out the tarnished reputation of their banks, which is worse than those of US banks in this current Global Finanical Crisis.
One day, I hope to see Beaver Dams in their natural environment in North America.