Beavers Return to Italy After 500 Years

The last known sighting was in 1471
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2018 3:41 AM CST
The Eurasian beaver could once be found from Great Britain to Mongolia.   (WIkipedia/Per Harald Olsen)

(Newser) – Scientists checking a camera set up to observe otters in northern Italy were thrilled when another furry creature wandered into the frame—the first beaver seen in the country in centuries. The last recorded sighting of a beaver in Italy—where they were hunted for food in the Middle Ages as a "white meat" that Catholics could eat on Fridays—was in 1471, the CBC reports. The male beaver has been nicknamed "Ponta" in honor of photographer Renato Pontarini and the bridges they are famous for building, Il Globo reports. Researchers, who suspected a new kind of animal was in the area after being alerted to unusual tracks, believe Ponta is the descendant of a group of beavers reintroduced to the Danube region around 30 years ago. (Argentina, meanwhile, says it has far too many beavers.)

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