Recently the Woodhaven Wildlife Center was contacted by a woman claiming there were five dead beavers along the Rayhill Trail in New Hartford. Not only that, but all of their legs were cut off and one of them was missing a tail.

It was obvious to Woodhaven founder, Judy Cusworth, the beavers had been killed by a trapper and were skinned for their furs. Chopping off all limbs makes it easier to skin a beaver.

If you thought the Rayhill Trail you walk on with your kids and pets was a nature trail, well think again.

There are so many questions to be answered here, but let's start from the top.

Credit - Woodhaven Wildlife Center via Facebook
Credit - Woodhaven Wildlife Center via Facebook

Who is Judy Cusworth?

Judy is founder of the Woodhaven Wildlife Center, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in Chadwicks. She has been helping serve Central New York in caring for sick and injured wild animals for the past 34 years.

Woodhaven allows animals to heal in a safe, secure environment until they can be released back into the wild. Though she accepts donations, the center is run totally out of her pocket. On average, she will take in around 600 animals a year.

With that being said, she is no stranger to beavers and their behaviors. As a wild life supporter, she is outraged by what she found on the Rayhill Trail.

Finding Who's Responsible

If you don't think people were called about this, then you don't know Judy. For the past two weeks she has been in contact with a number of authorities on the case.

She has called the Oneida County DPW, Town of Whitestown, and Town of New Hartford about the beavers and none of them were aware of the incident. Judy claims some people have seen men in breaking the dam, but she believes there is more to the story.

Beaver in the Tetons

Cusworth's theory, based off information she received from her representative with the DEC, nuisance trappers were hired to kill and skin the beavers. Reasons allegedly being because the beaver dams are causing water levels to rise and flood the trail.

Long-term Effects

Regardless if the beavers are killed and the dam is broken, they will continue to come back. Since the area around the trail is a natural wetland, beavers will always be attracted to it.

According to Woodhaven Wildlife Center, beavers will be kicked out of their family once they reach the age of two. They leave their home to find another, meaning the wetland will likely be filled with a new family in the future.

Beaver at Work

Judy is afraid for this cycle to continue endlessly every year, as new beavers take over the wetland. The most frustrating part to her is that there other humane ways to solve the issue.

A Possible Solution

Beaver Baffles are devices used to allow water to pass through the dam without destroying the wetland or killing the beavers. It is essentially a pipe that is snuck through the dam from one side to the other.

Cusworth says it's something the DOT knows about and has been used for years. Why this method isn't being used is just "baffling" to her.

Still No Answers

Though her efforts have been endless, Judy has yet to get an answer from her DEC representative. But she isn't going to stop anytime soon.

My goal is to find out who did it and stop them from ever doing it again.

Stay tuned for more information, as we will update you when more answers are found.

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