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Destructive beavers have made life miserable for local homeowner for almost three decades
Ted Azyan is a gentle, kind and thoughtful man who literally wouldn’t hurt any living creature – except one.
It would be hard to blame him for his distaste and resentment of the numerous beavers that have made his life miserable over the past 28 years since he first moved to Osoyoos and purchased his home on Solana Key Court.
One of the biggest reasons Azyan, who will turn 87 next week, purchased that particular home was because the front yard was filled with numerous fruit trees, including cherry, peach, nectarine and apricot trees.
Azyan’s house is located on the water adjacent to Solana Key, an inlet leading to Osoyoos Lake and that means eager beavers have easy access to his property.
Over almost three decades, numerous beavers have continually and persistently destroyed his fruit trees and caused him and his family endless heartbreak and frustration, said Azyan.
“I love all animals and that includes beavers, but they are very destructive animals and have caused so much damage on my property over all these years … I’ve just about had enough,” said Azyan. “They have ruined all the trees on my property except for one large cherry tree ever since I bought this place.
“On at least four different occasions, I’ve replanted the trees after the beavers have destroyed them. They grow nicely after a few years and the beavers leave them alone until they start bearing fruit and then they return and destroy them once again. It’s hard to believe how much damage these beavers have caused on my property over the years.”
Several of his neighbours along Solana Key Court have suffered the same kind of damage to their property as the beavers in the neighbourhood not only destroy trees and basically anything made out of wood, but also burrow deep holes into the ground, said Azyan.
“I’ve had neighbours fall through deep holes and injure themselves and these creatures have dug huge holes in my yard … you’re walking along one day and you fall through a big hole … it’s dangerous,” said Azyan. “I’ve found out the hard way that beavers are relentless and tireless workers, but they’ve sure caused a lot of damage to my property.”
To try and protect his previous fruit trees and some beautiful willow trees that sit on the edge of the canal near his home, Azyan has attempted on several occasions to install metal mesh around the base of the trees.
That hasn’t worked.
“They simply eat their way through the wire mesh,” he said. “Once they get through the mesh, they destroy the trees in a matter of days.”
Because this problem has been in existence for so long, Azyan has talked to Ministry of Environment officials on numerous occasions and filed complaints with town hall, but nothing has ever been done to move the beavers from his residential neighbourhood, he said.
“I’ve had ministry people out there on several occasions over the years and shown them the damage to my trees and my property and they basically say there’s nothing they can do about it,” said Azyan. “Like I said, I love animals and that includes beavers, but I really don’t think they belong in a residential neighbourhood, especially when they have been causing so much damage to my property and several other properties in this area.
“I think they should be trapped and moved out in the bush where they belong.”
For a few years, Azyan admits he hired a trapper, who removed several beavers from the area.
“They are powerful animals and they ripped that wire apart in a matter of days … they can cause so much damage,” he said.
When one family of beavers was removed by the trapper he hired, they were quickly replaced by another family within a few weeks, he said.
“I don’t know what to do anymore,” he said. “All I know is that if no one else is going to do something, then I’ll have to take my own actions because I’m getting old and I want to be able to see these trees grow and bear fruit again before I’m gone.”
One of his greatest pleasures in life is allowing his seven grandchildren to visit him and enjoy the fruit grown on his property, said Azyan.
He has also been handing out cherries and other fruit to numerous neighbours for many years.
“I tell all my neighbours to help themselves and grab a bucket of cherries,” he said smiling. “I love being a good neighbour and I love living in this neighbourhood and that’s why I’m so upset about what these beavers have done to my fruit trees and property.
“They’ve caused me no end of stress for the past 28 years and I’ve just about had enough.”
Norma Riba, Azyan’s daughter, said her father’s quality of life has been deeply affected by the damage caused by beavers to his property.
“A big part of dad’s life since he moved to Osoyoos has been the pride he takes in growing his fruit trees and giving that fruit away to this neighbours,” she said. “It’s been very sad to see because the beavers keep destroying the trees, he replants them and they start to grow nice again and the beavers return and destroy them once again.”
The only good news is the biggest cherry tree on his property has been left alone by the beavers and continues to produce a healthy crop of delicious cherries every summer, said Azyan.