Zoo branching out with addition of new beaver, Maple joins Filbert in the lodge

Zoo branching out with addition of new beaver, Maple joins Filbert in the lodge

“Branch manager” Filbert welcomed a new coworker recently when Maple, a 3-year-old North American beaver, joined him at the Oregon Zoo’s Cascade Stream and Pond habitat. According to care staff, Maple settled in right away and the toothy twosome are already swimming and playing together.

“Beavers are very social animals, so it’s wonderful to welcome a new member to the family,” said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo’s North American animals. “Filbert and Maple are getting along really well, and it’s great for both of them to have a friend to play with.”

Filbert was born at the zoo in 2011 to Willow and Aspen. Since they passed away last year, he’s been getting a lot of special attention from his care staff, including adventure walks around the zoo. He’s especially popular on the zoo’s social media channels, where his industrious wood-gathering activities have earned him the title “branch manager.”

Maple joins Filbert in the zoo’s Great Northwest area, near the river otters and western pond turtles. The two beavers share a lodge, and spend their days chewing on wood to keep their large, powerful teeth worn down.

Though Oregon is known for its beaver population, that hasn’t always been the case. In the 19th century, American beavers were hunted and trapped for their fur; by about 1900, they were almost gone from many of their original habitats. Thanks to re-establishment programs and hunting regulations, they have made a very successful comeback.

Metro, the regional government that manages the zoo, has preserved and restored more than 90 miles of river and stream banks in the region through its voter-supported natural area programs. By protecting water quality and habitat, these programs are helping to provide the healthy ecosystems needed for beavers, fish and other wildlife to thrive.

For video of Maple and Filbert, visit bit.ly/OZBeavers.