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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back in the U.K.: Beavers make controversial return

"Beavers are back in the Scottish wilderness after an absence of nearly 500 years.
Three families of 11 animals were transported from Norway and released in Argyll, Scotland, on Friday as part of a controversial reintroduction program.
Some conservationists are worried their dams might affect native fish in Scotland, where the angling industry generates about $180 million Cdn in annual revenue. The concern is that the dams will alter fish habitat and block access to spawning grounds.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland were given the go-ahead for the controversial trial reintroduction about a year ago.
According to the Daily Mail, the last recorded sighting of beavers living in the wilds of Britain was in 1526.
They were hunted to extinction for their pelts and for the secretions from their glands that Europeans believed helped cure headaches, fevers and hysteria.
Project manager Simon Jones told the BBC the release "went extremely well.
"They were placed into purpose-built artificial lodges at carefully selected points around the trial site.They will now gradually gnaw their way out of the lodge at a pace that is comfortable for them before exploring their new surroundings," he said.
The beavers will be closely monitored for their impact on the ecosystem, said Jones.
"This will help the Scottish government in making any final decisions on the future of beavers in Knapdale Forest or elsewhere in Scotland," he told the news service.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland's environment minister, paid a visit to the release site on Friday morning, calling the project "a historic day for conservation."

source of news article:
source of image:

According to the website:, "Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland and throughout many parts of Europe, because they were so valuable! Their soft, thick and waterproof fur was highly prized and very fashionable and the fur industry spawned by the beaver was huge.
It is thought that the development of Inverness in the Middle Ages was attributable to its status as a transport and market centre for beaver pelts, whilst much of the exploration of North America was achieved by fur trappers, many of them Scotsmen, from the Hudson Bay Company, scouring the continent for beavers. Beavers were also highly sought after for a secretion called castoreum which was produced in a gland below the tail. This substance was valued for its alleged medicinal properties and more recent analysis of castoreum revealed that it contains salicylic acid, which is derived from the beaver's diet of willow bark. Salicylic acid is an active ingredient of aspirin.
In some areas, beaver meat was an important part of the diet and Roman Catholics were permitted to eat meat from the beaver's tail and paws as a substitute for fish on a Friday. All these pressures led to the beaver's demise in Britain around the sixteenth century. They were not exterminated because they were a pest or were dangerous!"

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.