Oliver man helps save beaver from irrigation canal

Oliver man helps save beaver from irrigation canal

This cute little beaver was rescued from a concrete shaft at McIntyre Dam on Monday. (Photo by Adrian Zandvliet)

Sophie Gray 

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

A regular day at work on Tuesday turned into a rescue mission of the furry, big-toothed kind for an Oliver man.

Adrian Zandvliet, who runs the Town of Oliver and rural Area C irrigation system, said his coworker spotted a beaver that had managed to get stuck down an eight-foot concrete shaft at the McIntyre Dam on Monday. 

“We spotted him there and he wasn’t moving around, he looked pretty lethargic so I figured I better make him a bridge, get him access out of there so he could get back to that river,” said Zandvliet.

So the next day, Zandvliet returned to the site and used a piece of wood to fashion a bridge so the beaver could climb out. But the Canadian icon was hungry and tired, and wouldn’t come out on his own so Zandvliet sent his coworker down with a rake to coax the beaver out. Zandvliet said his coworker had to get pretty close before the beaver moved, but finally the animal made his way up the make-shift ramp.

“I was up at the top there with my camera. It was pretty awesome,” said Zandvliet.

Zandvliet has no idea how the beaver got there, as he said the site is completely fenced off. He thinks he must have fallen. But it’s not the first time the Town of Oliver employee has had a close encounter with a beaver while on the job.

“About five years ago, I had the same scenario,” said Zandvliet. “This time, I sent it to my kids and they were like dad, you gotta post this and share it with other people. Some feel good in these troubling times.”

Zandvliet posted it to Facebook, and got over 300 responses. The best part of the rescue though, he said, was at the very end when the beaver headed back towards the river after climbing up the bridge Zandvliet had built him.

“It was pretty cool to watch him take off. He kind of looked at me like he was my friend, you know?”