City officials have removed beaver traps from a lagoon in Madison following complaints from animal rights activists.
Madison Parks Division officials told the Wisconsin State Journal the traps to kill “nuisance” beavers became a safety hazard when people started removing them.
Division Superintendent Eric Knepp said a licensed trapper set the traps after beavers caused shoreline damage and flooding in and around the Warner Park lagoon. He said more than a dozen trees had irreparable damage from beavers.
“Beavers are not selective in the trees they damage,” he said. “I do not have a full inventory of what has been damaged as of today, but all trees in the area that are of the desired size for beavers are potentially at risk with an active beaver population.”
PETA member Kent Stein wrote a letter to Mayor Paul Soglin and other city officials, saying body-gripping traps are inhumane as animals struggle for prolonged periods before drowning or suffocating.
“When caught in any of these devices by their limbs, animals who don’t drown eventually succumb to dehydration, starvation, or shock,” Stein wrote. “Such traps are also indiscriminate, posing risks to ‘non-target’ victims including protected wildlife and companion animals.”
Stein recommended the city spray trees with repellent and use other devices that prevent damming.
Knepp said the parks division uses a variety of methods to manage wildlife.
“Trapping is a very limited method that is only authorized in specific situations and within Wisconsin DNR guidelines and regulations,” Knepp said. “We do not pursue this as an option without consideration of alternatives.”