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Castor canadensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA CASTORIDAE

Scientific Name: Castor canadensis
Species Authority: Kuhl, 1820
Common Name(s):
English American Beaver

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G. & Cannings, S.)
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. & Chanson, J.S.
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern because it is very widespread, common in many parts of its range, it occurs in many protected areas and its populations are currently stable.
History:
2008 Least Concern (IUCN 2008)
2008 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found throughout North America except the arctic tundra, peninsular Florida and the deserts of the southwestern United States. Its range extends into northern Mexico. In 1937 it was introduced in Finland, from where it naturally dispersed to Karelia and Leningrad Region (northwest Russia). It is also introduced in the Russian Far East, Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island (Russia). In 1946 American Beavers were introduced at Isla Grande, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina). Beavers are now found in all streams in the Andean and extra-Andean areas, and in nearly all aquatic habitats on Isla Grande as well as other Chilean islands of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago (Lizarralde et al. 2004).
Countries:
Native:
Canada; Mexico (Tamaulipas); United States
Introduced:
Argentina (Tierra del Fuego); Finland; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Following overexploitation for the fur trade, protection and re-introduction programs have re-established the American beaver throughout its historical range. It is now abundant. The current population size in Russia is unknown, but the population in northwest Russia is stable. In the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego, several factors favored a rapid population growth and range expansion (Lizarralde et al. 2004). Twenty-five mated pairs of beaver introduced in 1946, have grown to a population of 35,000-50,000 animals.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits areas near lakes, ponds, and streams with access to suitable food and building resources. Beavers are known for their ability to modify an environment through the construction of dams, which often cause flooding of the surrounding areas (Jenkins and Busher 1979). Beaver activity modifies the original Nothofagus (the main component of the South Patagonian forests) ecosystem from a closed forest to a grass and sedge dominated meadow (Martínez Pastur et al. 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is hunted for its fur.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overall there are no major threats to the species throughout its range. It is hunted and trapped for pelts. Many beavers are killed in areas where tree felling and dam building are in discordance with human development. It is highly sensitive to tularemia.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Hunting and trapping of the American beaver is regulated at the national level. Introduced populations occur in some protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Hafner, D. J., Yensen, E. and Kirkland Jr., G. L. 1998. Status survey and conservation action plan - North American Rodents. IUCN/SSC Rodent Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Jenkins, S. H. and Busher, P. E. 1979. Castor canadensis. Mammalian Species 120: 1-8.

Lizarralde, M., Escobar, J. and Deferrari, G. 2004. Invader species in Argentina: A review about the beaver (Castor canadensis) population situation on tierra del fuego ecosystem. INCI 29(7): 352-356.

Wilson, D. E. and Ruff, S. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.


Citation: Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G. & Cannings, S.) 2013. Castor canadensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 August 2014.
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