Being part Scottish I could only celebrate with my far-Northern cousins that finally, at last, their beaver needs were being met. It is a little known fact that there has long been a shortage of beaver in Scotland. Some blame the Highland Clearances, some the proliferation of Buckfast and deep fried Mars bars, most put it down to the hordes of midge flies that are attracted to anything warm and moist. After all an itchy beaver is an unhappy beaver.
However, as the classic beaver spurns any kind of fashionable depilation, it was agreed that a good full musky pelt would be ample protection against even the most determined of hormonally driven irritants and therefore the whine and nip of insistent little pests would be “nay bother” to the eager beavers waiting to set up home in the west coast of Scotland.
The beavers were duly released and allowed to run free and to this day thrive and prosper in Knapdale, Mid-Argyll.
It is a story worthy of the BBC’s Springwatch. A conservation success story to be shouted from the rooftops although we are yet to see Chris Packham get to grips with a beaver live on telly despite Michaela Strachan’s best attempts to the contrary.
All should be well. Beavers and beaver jokes have been resurrected in the British Isles to the glory of all.
And then comes the disturbing news today that a man in Belarus has been killed by beaver. The beaver population in Belarus is an eye-watering 80,000. I’m not sure what ratio that is to the male human population but surely there is enough beaver to go around.
Details are currently sketchy but it seems the man had attempted to capture the beaver in order to have his photograph taken with it.
Well truly, what man has not savoured the adolescent dream of being photographed running his fingers through the quivering fur of a beautiful, perfectly formed beaver?
It seems this particular beaver was having none of it though. It didn’t want to be tied down. It didn’t want to be posed. It didn’t want to be stroked. It wanted to be left alone and photo-shoots be damned. It was plainly the wrong time of the month. The beaver was not in season. The beaver bit and bit hard.
The poor man consequently died of his injuries.
Although “death by beaver” may sound to some a glamorous way to go I suspect my Scottish brethren are now twitching nervously beneath their sporrans and analysing growing beaver numbers in the Knapdale area with a sense of gnawing trepidation. Prime air-time on Springwatch is all very well but with a beaver population explosion on the cards it is only a matter of time before there is bloodshed in the Scottish bush.
After all, an angry beaver with teeth is not something you want erecting a dam at close quarters in your kilt.