kristen tracy

When Beavers Flew An Incredible Story of Rescue and Relocation by Kristen Tracy illustrated by Luisa Uribe


When Beavers Flew: An Incredible True Story of Rescue and Relocation

This fascinating picture book tells the unique, quirky, and true story of how one man in Idaho saved 76 beavers from destroying a town by parachuting them into uninhabited wetlands.

In 1948, the town of McCall, Idaho was growing rapidly. World War II was over, and the little town tucked away in the mountains began to boom. There was only one problem. As the town expanded, they found beavers everywhere. A beaver here, a beaver there, and it didn't take long to realize that humans and beavers weren't great cohabitators. But one clever and resourceful Fish and Game Warden named Elmo Heter had an idea.

Heter knew that the beavers were integral to the wetlands, so keeping the well-being of the beavers in mind he set out to find a way to relocate them. After a few failed attempts, he finally landed on a wild idea... parachutes. Using a surplus of parachutes left over from WWII and creating a special box with air holes designed to pop open when it hit the ground, Heter devised a way to parachute the beavers into Idaho’s backcountry, an area that beavers hadn't inhabited in decades.

Kristen Tracy's fascinating and playful nonfiction text pairs beautifully with Luisa Uribe's detailed illustrations to bring this compelling true story to life.

Kirkus Reviews:

A celebration of an early environmental success.


While properly pointing out in her afterword that animal translocation is a chancy business, Tracy describes one case that proved a spectacular success. Seeing in 1948 that McCall, Idaho, was afflicted by too many local beavers, fish-and-game warden Elmo Heter had an idea: Why not move some of the pesky creatures to a more-remote area in the Chamberlain Basin, where in the previous century they had been hunted nearly to extinction? When transporting them turned out to be a challenge, Heter designed a box that could be dropped safely by parachute, ran tests until it worked consistently, trapped a beaver he named Geronimo, and ran the tests "over and over" again (which may have readers feeling for the rodent). Then, he trapped 75 more beavers and flew them all into the wild. Returning a year later, he found them busily transforming their habitat, as they are to this day. Uribe illustrates Heter's invention with enough detail to show how it worked, also providing rugged landscapes and closeups of industrious beavers doing what they do in wetland settings.

When Beavers Flew will be released in hardcover on July 23rd, 2024.

ISBN-10: 059364753X

ISBN-13: 978-0593647530

Recommended for ages 4-8.

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