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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 21, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Beavers in PEKING Snippet from a conversation between a Chinese official and a Cana- dian about the beavers presented to the Peking zoo by Prime Minister Pierre By JOHN BURNS Special to The Herald The unders- tand the keepers have been offering them a choice between the kind of food they eat in Canada and something typically Chinese. they prefer the Chinese food.'' The Chinese stony- course. They are in Unsurprising as it seems to the the beavers preference for the local fare is a measure of their surprising- ly swift adjustment to their new which already has their keepers speaking confidently of their future offspring and the dying they will provide of the friendship between China and Canada. The two males and two came from the forests of Manitoba and On- tario. .They arrived here less than four weeks after a flight from New York. Although the flight was delayed several arriv- ing in the small hours of the the zoo's top of- ficials were on the tarmac to greet the animals when they were unloaded. After ex- changing the appropriate niceties with officials of the Canadian they whisked their new charges to the quarters that had been specially built for them at the zoo. Although large reaches of northern China are similar in climate and terrain to beaver country in the animal is very rare here. The North American beaver is and the Asian variety of the though native to the northwestern reaches of the is so- scarce that there is not a single example in a Chinese zoo. The Canadian animals are the first ex- amples of the species ever to be exhibited in Peking. Of- ficials recall somewhat coyly that the zoo was given a pair by certain European in the 1950s ter- minology that usually refers to the Soviet Union but the animals died without breeding. For all their the zoo officials have no assurance that the Canadian animals will prove any more prolific. The beaver is a monogamous animal and usually will not mate with other than its original so it is far from certain that one of the two pairs will like each other enough to start a family. Advice on this and other aspects of the animals' up- keep 'was passed to the Chinese through the but there apparently was no ropm for a beaver expert on the plane which carried Mr. Trudeau here. Zoo officials are too polite to complain but a visitor has.the impression from other remarks that they would have welcomed the op- portunity to talk a first hand with a Canadian expert. in the Canadians are exceptional. In recent the Chinese have .been given a'baby elephant by Sri two lions by Ethiopia and two musk oxen by the United with the animals being accompanied in each case by an expert from the donor country. The advice the Chinese did receive on the beavers has been followed scrupulously. Perhaps most importantly they saw to it that the animals did not plunge immediately into water but were reintroduced by a precaution that allowed them to build up the water-proofing oils in their coats that dried up during the long flight. The cages allotted to the animals are in the old quarter of the in an area that has been part of the premises since the Manchu emperors first established the zoo in 1908. As next-door they have Chinese porcupines and yellow necked otters while Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie's lion cubs pace their cage in a melancholy vigil 50 yards away. The beavers are divided into one pair to a cage. The cages are about 12 feet with a wedge-shaped basin in one corner of the concrete floor and a small steel hutch in the liberally cushioned with straw. The basin is kept dry most of the but can be filled from an overhanging tap. The space seems pitifully small by the standards of Canadian but officials say that the animals will soon be moved to bigger quarters now under construction. Despite the narrow confines of their new the beavers seem to have settled in well enough. At they startled animals around them by beating their tails on the concrete in but that stopped within a few days of their arrival. These they still spend most of their days in their emerging only to drink from the taps or collect the food laid out for them. But the alacrity with which they tackle their meals indicates that they cannot be too uncomfortable with their new surroundings. A regular meal consists of willow ind poplar plus a liberal supply of Chinese cabbage and sweet potatoes. But their first choice usually falls on a cake of wheat chaff and sorghum that is a special- ty of the It is not the zoo's habit to record the donation of foreign animals on the signs that hang on the and the beavers are no The only reference to i Canada on the sign is their Latin species Castor and even that would be unintelligible to all but the tiny minority of Chinese visitors who can read and understand the Roman alphabet. In the Chinese the sign summarizes the life style of the beaver Nothing in summary would .surprise a unless perhaps the notation that beavers secrete a scent which a good medicine and The ailments the medicine might cure are not stated. T.V Dinner visitor A young Chinese man watches as a Canadian beaver munches a meal at the Peking Zoo. A com- position of corn cake and bone powder has been devised as a dinner for the creatures. im-TIM UTNSMMI HMALO-M Tail slap announced arrival When two pair of Canadian beavers flrtt arrived at Peking Zoo they ex- pressed their travel fears with a noity tall slapping session on the concrete cage floor. Now well the beaver exhibit attracts many curious visitors. A Chinese species Is so rare that the zoo does not have any native beavers in tivity. Sears Do it yourself and save enough to do another room. It's Sears where Christmas ideas begin Popular Tunic Here's how Santa can please. Give her a tunic top to wear now... and all 'round. Choose from an assortment of beautiful prints in various colors. All easy-care polyester or polyester-acetate that she can machine- wash-dry. 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