Skip to main content

Here are some beavers parachuting against their will

Here are some beavers parachuting against their will

/

New post-war documentary footage shows the "great beaver drop" of 1948

Share this story

There's no other way to put this: here is some footage of parachuting beavers.

Okay, let me back up. You see, the Idaho Fish and Game service has struggled with beavers for decades, especially after World War II. The population was expanding fast into new, undeveloped areas, and it was threatening the beaver's long-established way of life (or as we humans saw it, beavers were becoming a problem for us). One Idaho Fish and Game employee had the idea to trap and relocate the beavers, a practice performed on lots of other wildlife, but the most suitable place for them to live was in an extremely remote place called Chamberlain basin.

Luckily for Idaho Fish and Game, there was a surplus of parachutes after the war. Boxes were hand-made out of willow wood and tied to the parachutes and, in 1948, 76 beavers were air-dropped into the area.

The "great beaver drop" of 1948

The story of this "great beaver drop" was popularized by Boise State Public Radio earlier this year. But now? Now there's video.

After years of "whispers" of the missing footage, the department historian for the Idaho Fish and Game service found the mythical film — called "Fur the Future" — in a box, mislabeled. It was digitally converted and uploaded to YouTube.

The video focuses on a number of trapping and relocation efforts, but the entire thing — especially the section about the great beaver drop, which starts about seven minutes in — straddles a line between hilarious and upsetting that is as thin as a twig. On one hand, the idea of parachuting beavers is viscerally funny. On the other, there's something wholly unnerving about listening to the war-time narrator cheerily convince the viewers (and himself) that everything they're seeing is hunky-dory. Here's how he described the relocation of some muskrats:

Out they come! Field men lift them by their tails. It doesn't bother the muskrats at all. It would seem the tails were put there for lifting handles.

This little fellow doesn't mind the long, unfamiliar trip he's just experienced, that willow twig is what he wanted in the first place. "That's part of my diet," he would say. "This place is O-KAY."

Things get even weirder when the video arrives at the parachuting beaver footage. It shows the Fish and Game employees packing up a "load of beaver for the mountains," each in their own "beaver dropbox." (Dropbox, here's your chance to find a better name than "Paper.") Then a man, who I'm half-certain is Paul Newman, loads them onto a single-prop plane and off they go. Back to the cheery narration:

The plane makes a careful approach, ready for the drop. Now! Into the air, and down they swing! Down to the ground, near a stream, or a lake. The box opens, and a most unusual and novel trip ends for Mr. Beaver.

According to Boise State Public Radio, all but one of the beavers survived the drop. One Fish and Game rep even tells them that the operation "created some amazing habitat that is part of what is now the largest protected roadless forest in the lower 48 states."

I won't lie, that knowledge makes me feel better about having a laugh at these beavers' expense. And who knows, maybe I'm just reading too much into the Jim Halpert look that one beaver gives the camera. Maybe the feeling gnawing at me that something is wrong about dropping beavers out of a plane with WWII parachutes just comes from the warbling audio, the crackly film, and the strange jumps in the editing, all which make it look more like a Dharma Initiative Orientation Film and less like a nature documentary. Or maybe, just maybe, there's a reason the operation hasn't been repeated in the last 67 years.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Striking out

A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


E
TikTok
Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.


E
External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.