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My beaver colony by Lars Wilsson

My beaver colony

by Lars Wilsson

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At the time this book was written, little was known about beavers. It's based on the work of two men in northern Sweden, who sought to rescue and study a population of beavers on the river near their farm. When the government began regulating water levels in the river via a hydroelectric dam, it disrupted the lives of beavers downstream so much that they were threatened with starvation. Rather than watch all the beavers die, Wilsson and his friend began trapping them, and ended up keeping many in captivity until they found suitable locations to set them free again, where they could study their behavior in a natural habitat. From observing the beavers' behavior in terrariums, Wilsson learned for the first time how much of their building work is instinctual. When the beavers were finally set free outdoors, they successfully built their lodges and dams on the first try. It was amazing to read how the animals go about their work, and how well their lodges are engineered- I never knew before how extensive their construction can be. Wilsson conducted many experiments to find out exactly what conditions in the river or stream stimulated the beavers to build dams. It was interesting to read his speculations on how natural selection might have shaped the beavers' building behavior. Some things which at first I thought showed the animals' intelligence turned out to have other possible explanations. I never read about these animals before, so even though the book is rather outdated it was still very interesting to me.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Feb 23, 2015 |
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