metrolinx beavers

Metrolinx battles beavers on Toronto rail lines and people aren't happy

A move to drain water that could flood Metrolinx tracks has upset people who want to save beaver habitats.

The issue of beavers and Metrolinx is an ongoing one, Metrolinx's head of media relations and public affairs, Anne Marie Aikins tells blogTO.

"Beaver patrols are pretty a normal course of business for protecting the rail corridor so it happens kind of everywhere," Aikins says.

Recently, Metrolinx released an article about beavers and how dam building has washed out tracks causing train derailments in Manitoba and the Ottawa Valley.

But residents of a Scarborough Bluffs neighbourhood say Metrolinx is destroying a habitat for not only beavers but for other wildlife such as deer, geese and ducks.

They told the Toronto Star that a 50-year-old pond has been drained by Metrolinx, forcing a beaver family to move to a ditch across the street.

Aikins says Metrolinx staff members use devices, known as beaver baffles, to prevent the beavers from making dams.

The residents say the pond is far from the tracks, but Aikins says there is an overflow caused by beavers making dams.

"There was seepage that was going very close to our tracks," she says.

The idea is to remove the dam and force the beavers to relocate.

"The beavers relocate [and] if they don't relocate, and they keep making dams, we can use humane traps and relocate them to a safer area away from traps," she says.

Track inspectors regularly monitor the 500 to 600 kilometres of track in the GTA.

"They monitor all of them for a lot of different things but in particular seasons, like the fall in the spring — that's when they like to make dams — they do beaver patrols specifically to look for dams being built."

Aikins says she understands why people are upset and also feels for the beavers.

"They're wonderful and we love them too, but we also have to make sure everybody on trains stays safe, so it has to be our first priority."

Lead photo by

Alex Meoko

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