Prague forest officials rescue curious young beaver trapped in a Stromovka park drain

The Stromovka beaver was the third to need help since beavers returned to the area in 2015, after a 200 year absence

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 15.10.2020 16:00 (updated on 15.10.2020)

One unlucky beaver in Prague got himself into a tight squeeze recently, and had to be rescued. The curious critter somehow wound up trapped by a drain in Stromovka park, and needed professional assistance to get out.

Prague due to its large number of parks and urban forests, has a lot of wildlife, and sometimes animals find themselves in difficult situations. The city has a Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station (Záchranná stanice hl. m. Prahy pro volně žijící živočichy) to handle such emergencies, and it is busier than most people would expect.

Beaver trapped in Stromovka / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station
Beaver trapped in Stromovka / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station

The City Greenery (Městská zeleň) department, which oversees Stromovka, called the Rescue Station at 10 am on October 5 to tell them a beaver had fallen into a pit at the end of an offshoot of the Vltava called Malá říčka. It is at the western edge of the park alongside a horse trail.

A young member of the European beaver species was stuck in front of the protective grille, behind which Malá říčka sinks underground. This put the beaver in a bit of a sticky situation. Because he was surrounded by vertical walls, he could not get out of there by itself. Rescuers had to use a large net to pull him up.

Aside from being cold and wet, the beaver was otherwise in good condition. “We were on the spot for a while and we successfully caught the beaver. Thanks to the attention of our colleagues, he got out of the tank quickly and without consequences,” the Rescue Station said in a press release.

Beaver being rescued / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station
Beaver being rescued / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station

“Although he had an unpleasant experience, fortunately he had no injuries, so we were able to release him back into nature right away. We returned the beaver to the other bank of the Vltava in Troja, where we have already recorded the occurrence of beavers in the past,” they added.

He is the third Prague beaver to have had a close shave with danger. “We first encountered a beaver in trouble in Prague in 2016. In the spring of that year we rescued one exhausted beaver from a concrete tank by the Vltava near the racecourse in Velká Chuchle,” the Rescue Station stated.

“We solved another beaver case last year. One of the Prague beavers got stuck in a canal bringing water to a hydroelectric power plant on Císařský ostrov. Beavers are excellent swimmers, but they can hardly avoid some of the pitfalls on rivers and water bodies,” the Rescue Station added.

Beaver in a carrying case / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station
Beaver in a carrying case / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station

Beavers used to be common throughout Europe, but were hunted almost to extinction. Many countries were left with no local beaver population. They were hunted for their meat, fur and castoreum, a secretion that was used in perfumes and as a food additive.

Efforts have been made since 2003 in several European countries to reintroduce beavers into the ecosystem.

In the territory of Prague, the first European beavers in modern times were spotted in 2015. The return of beavers to Prague after almost 200 years was confirmed by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (ČZU) thanks to photo traps that captured the family of by the Vltava.

Beaver released in Troja / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station
Beaver released in Troja / via Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station

Municipal Wildlife Rescue Station is a part of the Prague’s forestry division Lesy hl. m. Prahy. Its mission is to help injured and otherwise handicapped wild animals in order to return them to nature of after their recovery. The station operated a non-stop emergency line and receives more than 4,000 animals a year and is thus the busiest of all rescue stations in the Czech Republic. In 2020, the station helped its 4,000th animal already at the end of August, a distressed baby hedgehog.

It is part of the National Network of Rescue Stations of the Czech Republic, which brings together rescue stations across the country and guarantees a high professional level of care for wildlife.