WASHINGTON — It’s not a call that humane officers in D.C. get every day: a baby beaver roaming around the fountain near a Metro station.
The growing crowd was worried the little critter was out of its element at the Van Ness Metro station and in need of some help. Or directions to Rock Creek Park.
Scott Giacoppo, the chief community animal welfare officer with the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League, said when officers arrived that, “Sure enough, there was a juvenile beaver that made its way into the fountain.”
A crowd had formed around the little beaver, who had been wandering around the plaza, even crawling up onto a passerby’s sneaker. Giacoppo says D.C. police were already on the scene, adding that one officer had even dashed into a nearby store to find a box to contain the beaver until a humane officer arrived.
Giacoppo says once humane officers got to the scene, they checked out the beaver and consulted with City Wildlife, a nonprofit that rehabilitates wild animals. Giacoppo says after some discussion and a little evaluation, it was decided the beaver was in good condition and old enough to be on its own, so it was released — to a quieter, wilder corner of the District.
Giacoppo says while his officers have never been called to a busy area of the city like Connecticut Avenue to check on the welfare of a beaver before, wildlife is all around us, and it’s important to respect its space.
Video taken by Jonathan Murray, a passer-by who stopped to take a look at the curious critter, shows someone reaching down to pet the beaver.
“I strongly encourage people when they see a wild animal, never handle them, just leave them be,” Giacoppo said.
But he adds that if you do see a wild animal — or any animal — in distress, don’t hesitate to call animal control.
In this case, Giacoppo says concerned pedestrians and police helped make sure the beaver enjoyed its adventure before making its way back to a safer, more natural setting.
“Kudos to the Metropolitan Police Department for their quick action to help animals” he said.
D.C. police have been good partners in protecting animals in the city. Giacoppo says in the past couple of weeks alone, officers assisted on a number of calls, including the recovery of a stolen kitten. Thanks to their work in that case, Giacoppo says the kitten, “Princess Jazzy” was returned to the shelter safe and sound.
Take a look at the video below:
Beavers have proven to be unwelcome D.C. visitors in the past. In 1999, four cherry blossom trees fell victim to the work of over-eager beavers that were removed from the Tidal Basin.