A beaver hindered by a plastic strap around its midsection was rescued Tuesday night from a riverbank near downtown San Jose and later released into the wild, an animal group spokeswoman said today.

The adult female beaver, one of at least three living in the Guadalupe River in San Jose, was spotted July 7 by wildlife researcher Greg Kerekes, Wildlife Emergency Services spokesman Rebecca Dmytryk said.

Kerekes noticed the animal had a plastic strap around its abdomen and could see it was affecting the beaver’s movement and he thought it might cut into its body, Dmytryk said.

Wildlife Emergency Services assembled a rescue team and searched for several days in daylight but could not find it, Dmytryk said.

Dmytryk led the search with a colleague, Duane Titus, early Monday using spotlights, but they still could not locate the beaver.

A camera left by the river by Kerekes recorded the beaver on the bank, proving it was still alive.
The team laid out a trap, but was still not successful, Dmytryk said.

She and Titus then set up a sophisticated netting system with lights placed in trees off the riverbank to see if they could trap it at night, Dmytryk said.

By 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the team, joined by wildlife handlers from the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in San Jose, started waiting and within only five minutes, one team member saw the beaver and radioed the others.

As the beaver climbed the riverbank, the hoop net snared it and Kerekes and Titus cut the plastic – a packaging strap like those used to bundle newspapers—off of it, Dmytryk said.

The animal was transported to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose for a brief health check and released within an hour back to where it had lived by the riverbank, Dmytryk said.

Jeff Burbank, Bay City News

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