Martinez Beaver Family Loses Its Matriarch

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Jun 28, 2010  |  Updated 10:28 AM PDT
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A member of the beaver family creating tension in Martinez, Calif., gathers dam-building twigs during an evening swim on Monday, Nov. 5, 2007. The beavers have built a dam and lodge that will pose a flood threat to the city. Officials have proposed to euthanize the animals, which has angered some of the locals. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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There's some sad news about that family of beavers living in Alhambra Creek in Martinez.

The matriarch of the family has died. Veterinarians had to put her to sleep Saturday because of declining health.

Supporters and vets had been keeping a watchful eye on the mama beaver since Wednesday, when she started showing signs of an infection that kept her from eating. She was weak, barely moving and had lost a lot of weight. Vets at UC Davis will do a necropsy on the beaver to figure out what caused her illness.

Experts with the Martinez Beavers group estimate the mother beaver was at least six years old. She had 15 live births over her years in the Alhambra Creek. Her latest litter was born 19 days ago. Other beavers in the creek have adopted those kits -- led by one of the babies from a 2008 litter.

"There are no orphans among beavers. The family will take care of the kits." Worth a Dam President Heidi Perryman said, "I'm just grateful that Mom was able to hang on long enough to leave us with this final gift."

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