A “uniquely Canadian” situation has emerged in a rural corner of British Colombia (BC) after hundreds of people were left without internet due to a beaver nibbling through vital communications cables.
The internet outage caused up to 900 people in Tumbler Ridge, a rural district found in the foothills of the Rockies in BC, to lose their internet connection over the weekend, Candian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports. Crews of technicians were sent out to investigate the issue and discovered that beavers had chewed through the cable at multiple points. It also appears that the beavers were using parts of the internet infrastructure to build their dam.
"Our team located a nearby dam, and it appears the beavers dug underground alongside the creek to reach our cable, which is buried about three feet underground and protected by a 4.5-inch thick conduit. The beavers first chewed through the conduit before chewing through the cable in multiple locations," a spokesperson from Tulus, the Canadian telecoms company that owns the cables, said in a statement to CBC.
The spokesperson added that it was a "very bizarre and uniquely Canadian turn of events.”
Fortunately, the lines were promptly restored and the internet returned to the people of Tumbler Ridge, but the culprit remains at large. Technicians are now investigating how far the damage continued up the communication line.
Beavers are the national animal of Canada (yep, they somehow managed to beat moose, grizzlies, and reindeers to the punch). The North American beaver (Castor canadensis), together with its cousin over the pond, the Eurasian beaver (C. fiber), are the second-largest living rodents after the capybaras.
The recent beaver incident in BC is just one story in a rich history of wild animals screwing up human infastructure.
In 2016, a tiny vervet monkey fell on top of a transformer at a power station in Kenya, causing huge chunks of the country to lose electricity for nearly four hours. A similar event in 2017 saw a baboon cause a blackout for about 50,000 people in Zambia. A spokesperson from the state-owned energy company said that a human would have received a 25 years prison sentence for causing such a disturbance, but the baboon was let off the hook owing to their taxonomic background.