(CNN) — Two victims of Metrolinx’s latest initiative.
Ontario’s taxpayer-funded transportation authority has been undertaking an effort to ban wood-boring beavers from the Tianguis Lake watershed in Eastern Ontario.
Their tactics: Tossing concrete blocks across the area where the beavers use the potlatch dams to groom themselves and breaking up the larger dams with hammers and crowbars.
Metrolinx says the wood-boring beavers have repeatedly buried tracks in the soft underground swamp to slow train travel.
But local residents aren’t buying it. An opposition group — dubbed the Speak Tianguis Alliance — has collected more than 4,500 signatures opposing the beaver slaughter.
“The razing of beaver dens and the removal of wooden dams is by no means an aggressive attack on the beavers,” says a petition posted on the Metrolinx website by the Speak Tianguis Alliance. “This action by Metrolinx is a clear display of discrimination against beavers.”
An acting communications manager for Metrolinx tells CNN that if a person finds a beaver den or dam in their property, they can use an “educational approach that helps to remediate the situation.”
That approach hasn’t stopped Metrolinx from dropping surprise beaver-proofing kits on lake bottoms.
Residents have appealed for help in upending these beaver traps. But these deadly “plastic shovels,” weigh 13.5 pounds each and are difficult to dislodge, according to Metrolinx’s literature.
Residents also report being unable to file local permits for nesting trees because Metrolinx has stalled the process, according to documents published by Speak Tianguis Alliance
Bears and opossums have also been affected by Metrolinx’s beaver cull. The area is particularly sensitive due to a potential concern for the endangered Vanishing Prairie Oyster. Residents want Metrolinx to extend river borders to provide more room for the endangered sponge fish, a group that depends on the water to grow.
Some residents are worried Metrolinx is taking the need to relocate even the broadest-legged of wildlife, such as the Cape Sable Desert snapping turtle, over their objections.
“The good thing about the proposed move is that it can be done without impeding animal movement as turtles are not affected by this type of action,” says the council’s website.