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Beaver Kills Fisherman in Belarus
A wave of beaver attacks is rocking Belarus this year, and the cuddly, industrious mammals are far more vicious than their reputation would indicate. The latest attack is also the most violent; a 60 year-old man was killed by a small beaver after the two took a photo together.
Beaver attacks have become a big problem for Belarus, as the creatures have exploded in population and are interacting with humans more and more frequently. Though they were once hunted to extinction in Europe, beavers became a protected species and new populations were introduced into the wild. In Belarus alone, the last decade has seen the beaver population grow rapidly to approximately 80,000. Because the population is so dense, beavers are more frequently wandering into populated areas, and are more commonly encountered in rural ones.
Earlier this month, the 60 year-old man who has not been identified by request of his family, was fishing with friends near Shestakovskoye Lake near Minsk, the nation’s capital. The group was driving on a rural road, when they spotted a beaver just off the pavement. They stopped the car, and the man attempted to pick up the beaver for a photograph. As he reached for the animal, it bit him several times. One of the bites hit a major artery in the man’s leg, causing him to bleed uncontrollably.
The Huffington Post reports that he was rushed to a nearby medical clinic, where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Leonty Sulim. “The character of the wound was totally shocking for us medical professionals,” said Sulim. “We had never run into anything like this before.”
Wildlife expert Viktor Kozlovsky said that the upsurge in attacks can be attributed in part to the spring season bringing out aggression in young beavers as they stake their own territory. He also credited the fact that beavers are typically nocturnal, and, if seen during the day, are more than likely disoriented by the sunlight.
Kozlovsky also said that the growth of the beaver population is starting to cause damage to forests and farms, and that citizens are now encouraged to hunt them again.Beaver Kills Fisherman in Belarus by Andrew Ostler