There’s going to be one less lonely beaver in the Fraser Valley.
Justin Beaver, named for a proud son of Stratford, Ont., will soon gain a companion with an equally patriotic moniker: Sidney Clawsby.
The story, by now, has reached every corner of Canada. The 10 kg semi-aquatic rodent, named for the Grammy-winning pop star, was stolen on April 17 from Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park in the Fraser Valley. The beaver was found dead in another regional park, but was in fine physical condition, so they felt it would be a useful teaching tool for children.
Sidney resident Connie Lougher-Goodey read about the theft in a newspaper, and realized she and her husband could help. Mervyn, now a councillor with the Town of Sidney, received a road-killed beaver about 40 years ago while an engineer with the Canadian Forces (a beaver is their emblem). It has traveled with them as he traveled for his job, but now that they’ve settled on the Saanich Peninsula, his wife asked him if it was time for the beaver’s next adventure.
“I know how expensive it is for a taxidermist,” said Connie. “I asked my husband, ‘is it time to say goodbye?’ and he said, ‘Yep.’ So I sent Jennifer a message and she responded immediately the next morning.”
Justin Beaver was returned to park staff April 26, so he will now have a companion.
Connie said the donation was for first and foremost for educational purposes, and encouraged people to donate any suitable items to similar interpretative centres. “It’s our duty, in a way.”
Jennifer Kinneman, manager of corporate affairs for the Fraser Valley Regional District, acknowledged the absurdity of the situation.
“I’d like you to think long and hard about what it was like to call the RCMP to file the report that we had a missing taxidermy beaver,” she said.
Kinneman said the name of Sidney came first, to honour his origins, but “Clawsby” came later.
She and the Fraser Valley’s manager of parks will come to collect Sidney in-person next week, and they are glad to have another addition to their interpretive programs.
“We’re very grateful, they’re a really lovely couple. Really kind,” said Kinneman.
The couple never named the beaver, but Connie said it was “quite appropriate” to name him after the community he’s called home for so long.
When she learned of the national media coverage, Connie said, “Oh, gosh; oh dear. Canadian news,” she laughed.