Toms River’s program to curb its beaver population has caught the attention of PETA, who calls the campaign a “Beaver Massacre”.
PETA objected to the township’s use of Conibear traps which snap the neck of the animals.
“The Township of Toms River reportedly plans to kill beavers living in Lake Placid, and Conibear traps—the devices most commonly used for this purpose—cause terrified victims to suffer horribly as they are slowly crushed or drowned, which for beavers can take more than 15 agonizing minutes,” PETA said. “And when caught by their limbs while on land, victims can succumb to dehydration, starvation, or shock. These sadistic kill traps also threaten “nontarget” species, including protected wildlife and even companion animals. Finally, killing is ineffective because surviving beavers will be prompted to breed at accelerated rates while inevitable newcomers arrive for the still-available resources. What results will be an endless killing cycle at taxpayers’ expense.”
“[We] apprised township officials of the aforementioned information and provided effective and humane beaver-control advice but to no apparent avail,”the organization said.
The rise came after the township announced it will begin trapping and killing beavers around Lake Placid, a series of lakes east of the Ocean County Mall.
“Due to the destructive presence of beavers in Toms River, particularly in the Lake Placid area, it is recognized that the Township must address ongoing beaver activity proactively. Left unaddressed, this problem threatens the quality of life of the area’s homeowners,” the township said in a statement. “Beaver dams present numerous problems. They alter waterways which destroy forests and threaten homes and roads. Cut or felled trees may topple other trees or utility poles, or cause precarious overhangs that could fall onto public pathways and roadways. Flood water can cause substantial property damage to homes and has already started to impact the yards of residents living in the area. The flood water poses a serious health risk to residents with well water or septic tanks behind their homes.”
The township release continued, “Due to potential damage, residents have repeatedly contacted the Township and appeared before the Council requesting that action be taken as soon as possible. Since 2011, the Township has taken a number of steps to address the beaver dam problem. In total, the Township’s Engineering Department has spent $66,900 in emergency lake drainage, bypass pumping, restoration and other materials at the Lake Placid outfall to alleviate flooding problems.
“The Township has also had crews visit the area twice a week to clear the dams and address flooding concerns. The dams have been removed, but the beavers rebuild them. The Township had also previously installed fencing and other guards around pipes. Moving the beavers is not an option. State regulation prohibits the relocation of beavers, according to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Despite these efforts, a string of beaver dams has increased in the Lake Placid area.
“Consequently, the Township is constrained to proceed with beaver trapping, which, to be effective, must coincide with beaver hunting season in New Jersey (December 26- February 9). Trapping is the only viable, long-term solution to provide a practical and financial means of responding to the presence of beavers on Town owned and managed lands. Trapping ensures that property damage and human health and safety risks are minimized and that quality of life is preserved for residents.
“According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, beavers may be taken only by properly licensed trappers in possession of a special beaver trapping permit valid for an entire management zone, or a special site-specific beaver permit valid as designated on the permit. The trappers enlisted by the Township are so licensed. Toms River’s beaver management policy follows methods approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The Township will cooperate with other levels of government agencies in order to best address future beaver management issues.”
On December 30th, protesters marched on town hall to ask the township to relocated the beavers humanely to the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge near Buena Vista Township.
Township officials said their hands are tied because New Jersey Fish and Wildlife rules do not allow for the trapping and relocation of beavers in New Jersey.
An online petition to “Save the Beavers” has generated over 2,250 signatures to date.
A request for a short-term moratorium on the trapping and killing was denied by the township.