Volunteers hopeful about future of beavers along the San Pedro River

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 12:05pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 12:11pm

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San Pedro riparian area
Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management
The San Pedro riparian area, which contains about 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River.

When you think about beavers, you might think of a lot of things — busy beavers, "Leave it to Beaver," "The Angry Beavers." You probably don’t think about the ecology of the desert Southwest.

But not too long ago, these dam-building rodents dominated the landscape of the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona. Unfortunately, centuries of trapping led to their extinction in this part of the country by the late 1800s.

Over 20 years ago, land managers here attempted to bring them back. But the project has had fits and starts.

Lindsey Botts is an environmental reporter for the Arizona Republic. He went out recently with an intrepid group of researchers and beaver enthusiasts to track down signs of the animals here. The Show spoke with him to learn about his findings and experience.

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