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Rescuers Find More Beavers Injured By Chevron Fuel Leak

Three beavers remain in critical condition after they were rescued on March 26 from an area that is contaminated with diesel.  The beavers have severe burns to their eyes and skin and have been taken to Ogden’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. Test results will reveal if the animals have suffered any internal damage. 

Last week, a Chevron pipeline leaked 600 barrels of diesel fuel into Willard Creek and while beaver dams are credited for stopping the fuel from reaching a wildlife habitat in Willard Bay, the beavers were caught in the epicenter of the contamination. The beavers found last night make a total of six beavers that are known to be affected by the spill.

The Wildlife Center’s Executive Director DaLyn Erickson says their first priority was getting the fuel off of the animals. The beavers have literally been soaking in diesel and the toxic fumes have filled their lodges. Erickson says she and her staff spent nearly six hours washing the animals. The diesel had burned their skin so badly it peeled off "like a bad sunburn." Clumps of fur clogged the drain.

The emergency care of the beavers has stretched the 100% volunteer staff at the wildlife rehabilitation center to the max. Three staff members are devoted full-time to the care of the beavers, but they must still care for the other 150 animals currently at the center. Erickson says they've had to cancel their annual fundraiser - a campaign they depend on to keep the center operating. The emergency with the beavers has required the attention of everyone, she says, including the individuals who normally plan the event. 

Canceling the fundraiser could be potentially devastating to the center. There is no state or federal funding for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah says Chairmen of the Board Buz Marthaler and they rely on individual donations to meet the center’s yearly $100,000 estimated price tag. But since the diesel fuel spill, Marthaler says a lot of individuals have expressed a desire to help at the Center.

Erickson says while it is still unknown if they will be able to rehabilitate the newest beavers, she says she confident that the initial three rescued beavers will one day be returned to the wild.

To see pictures of the beavers, visit the Wildlife Rehabilition Center of Northern Utah Facebook page.

Mackinzie Hamilton started her career in 2009 as a reporter for 610 AM KVNU and staff writer for Cache Valley before joining UPR in 2011. A freshman at Utah State University, she is majoring in Journalism and communications with a minor in vocal performance.