A yearling beaver pauses while eating pondside grasses.



Beavers are a Landscape’s Best Friend

It is nearly impossible to predict what random piece of media will catch the public’s attention and end up going viral. A few years ago, a short film from the archives of Idaho Fish and Game made that strange leap from historic obscurity to pop culture phenomenon. 

Complete with the newsreel narration of the era and the warbling orchestral soundtrack of old film, the video documented a 1948 program in which beavers were loaded into crates attached to parachutes and air-dropped from planes into the Idaho wilderness. You may have seen it. It showed up all over the place online, on TV news and public radio broadcasts, and was a question (answer?) on the game show Jeopardy. The story inspired at least two children’s books, too.

The video was called “Fur for the Future” and is still available to watch on IDFG’s YouTube channel. Along with the beavers, it features muskrats and pine martens being captured in live traps and relocated, though only the beavers are dropped from a plane…


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