Elena Passarello’s column is about famous animals from history. This week: Geronimo the beaver takes flight.
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 Mister Beaver.
—from Fur for the Future
Poor fellow! He finally became resigned, and as soon as we approached him, would crawl back into his box ready to go aloft again.
—Elmo Heter, Idaho Fish and Game Department
Species: Castor canadensis
Years Active: the late 1940s
Distinguishing Features: four orange front teeth, impressive work ethic, pungent odor
Skills: landscape architecture, family planning, no detectable fear of heights
Habitat: The Idaho backcountry
I’ve spent the past week wondering how this country might have turned out differently if, two hundred years ago, we’d made our national symbol the North American beaver. Thomas Jefferson reportedly selected the bald eagle for its visage—that focused, Gregory Peck glower. The beaver face, on the other hand, is much more comically designed: it’s myopic and weak-chinned, with Paul Giamatti cheeks. Though graceful when swimming the depths of the ponds they help dredge and fortify, on land (where most humans observe them) beavers only waddle through the mud, cutting quite the opposite figure than certain iconic birds of prey gliding on canyon updrafts. Read More