At least some creatures are going about life as normal. Photos shared with MTL Blog appear to show beavers in the waters around Montreal's Nun's Island (Îles-des-Soeurs). Island resident and author Del Chatterson says that it's the first time in at least two years that he has spotted the animals in the area.

"Beavers have been seen here often over the years and they have taken down more trees than the developers," he told MTL Blog.

Indeed, news reports from the early 2010's show just how much of a problem the local beaver population had become. In 2014 CTV News reported that they were responsible for the downing of some 600 trees.

Extensive damage to the island's vegetation prompted the borough of Verdun to trap and kill the animals, leading to outcry from Montreal residents and the SPCA.

"That's why it was news to see them again," says Chatterson.

We reached out to the Quebec Ministry of Flora, Fauna, and Parks, who explained that the beavers at Nun's Island are likely young and looking to colonize new territory after leaving their family group.

They could also be simply passing through.

Though beavers have always inhabited the waterways around Montreal, and small groups are still present in the West Island, their need to cut down trees for food "often constitutes a cohabitation problem given their importance in our urban context where they are often scarce," the Ministry explains.

"Cut down trees, flooded roads or buildings, and blocked culverts are just a few examples of the disadvantages of beaver presence in inhabited areas."

For this reason, large colonies are often removed.

The Ministry prefers the method of legal trapping during authorized periods so that the animals' fur, glands, and flesh can be preserved.

"Otherwise, effective means must be put in place to scare off unwelcome animals and prevent them from causing damage, for example by installing screens around trees and shrubs."

If these methods are ineffective, however, officials can intervene to deal with the problem in a manner they see fit. 

It might not come to that this time, though.

In a subsequent post, Chatterson says that, though their work is evident, the beavers were nowhere to be seen.

"Busy beavers hard at work on their spring projects. But somebody warned them about social distancing and they're out of sight!"

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