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WATCH: Long-Lost Parachuting Beaver Footage From 1950

What's better than parachuting beavers?

Video of parachuting beavers.

Boise State Public Radio, KBSU, has the story:

"For years, there have been whispers at Idaho Fish and Game of a film, made around 1950, that showed how the Department relocated fur-bearing animals, like beavers, around the state. It supposedly included footage of the infamous airplane beaver drops. There is even a brief Idaho Statesman article from 1950 that says Fish and Game had received permission to make two color films for $700.

"But the film was missing. Until now.

"One of Sharon Clark's jobs at Fish and Game is Department Historian. She pursued the rumors, along with help from the Idaho Historical Society. After years of searching, the film "Fur for the Future" was found, mislabeled and in the wrong box.

"Clark says the film was in a fragile state and the Society got some experts to convert it to a digital format. Fish and Game and the Historical Society are pleased to show it off today. (The parachuting beavers show up around seven minutes into the video.)"

The rediscovered film is a classic, complete with deep-voiced narration, soaring background music and grainy footage. But what necessitated the parachuting beaver in the first place?

An earlier report from KBSU explains:

"It was just after World War II and people had discovered what a beautiful place McCall and Payette Lake were. Idaho Fish and Game's Steve Liebenthal says people started building homes. 'And in the process, kind of moved into where these beavers had been doing their things for decades, centuries, and beavers became a problem,' Liebenthal says.

"Enter Elmo Heter. Heter worked for Idaho Fish and Game in the McCall area. He had experience with beavers, and it was his job to find a solution.

"Heter knew that the Chamberlain Basin was the perfect place for the beavers. The animals would be away from people, and their natural activity would be beneficial to the habitat there. 'The trouble is the Chamberlain Basin is in what is now the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area and there really aren't and weren't any roads,' Liebenthal explains."

While beavers are still regularly trapped in Idaho, they haven't been relocated via parachute for more than 50 years.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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