Only in Canada: Ont. woman drives 400 km to help beleaguered beaver

It was a quintessentially Canadian act of kindness.

When an Ontario wildlife sanctuary put out an urgent call for someone to drive an ailing beaver to a specialized facility some 400 kilometres away, they found a volunteer within half an hour.

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Mary Herbert didn't have any prior plans to make the trek from Ottawa to Rosseau, Ont., but offered to give the rodent a ride on Wednesday simply because she's always liked Canada's national animal.

"I just figured I could help them out," the Ottawa-area resident told The Canadian Press after arriving at her destination.

"I looked at my husband and said 'I can do that, I'm free tomorrow.' I love animals. It's really nice to be able to help wildlife out. It's not an opportunity many get."

Herbert had never volunteered for the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary before, but she did follow them on Facebook, which is how she saw their appeal for a "beaver taxi."

"If I can save one beaver's life, that's a good thing," she said. "There's a beaver pond where I live and that's just part of the wildlife that I see, and I like. This fellow, it looks like he's been orphaned and he needed help."

The beaver travelled in a crate which was covered with a blanket and kept on the back seat of Herbert's car.

"He didn't say a word the whole way," Herbert said.

The rodent -- which has no name -- was found on Friday in a yard in the Ottawa area by residents who called the sanctuary.

"He was found unusually far from water," said sanctuary board member Heather Badenoch. "He was dehydrated, he was lethargic, he was disoriented."

The beaver was warmed up and given immediate care at the sanctuary but his behaviour still wasn't normal, Badenoch said.

A decision was made to transport the beaver to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in the Muskoka region north of Toronto as quickly as possible so he could be examined by a vet.

The beaver would also have the option of spending the winter at that sanctuary if required because of its indoor water enclosure.

"The beaver is beyond what we have the facility for here," said Badenoch. "Once he was stabilized enough to be transported, we put out the call."

The plea went out on social media channels, sparked the hashtag .beavertaxi, and caught Herbert's attention.

The sanctuary has put out similar calls for "animal taxis" before, but Badenoch said the sheer volume of responses generated by the beaver's plight and the speed at which the call was answered made it stand out.

"I think it was because it was a beaver," she said. "The joke was, it's the most Canadian thing to happen in Canada."



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