The beavers at the Gorges du Gardon have been there for a long time, thanks in particular to the Gard naturalists who, since the beginning of the 20th century, have been working for their preservation.
As night falls, the beaver, an aquatic animal, comes out of its burrow. Gilles Larnac, president of Association Pile Piol explains. “The newborns are in burrows below the water level, so you can’t easily see them.”
The beaver almost disappeared from our streams in the 12th century. It was already hunted for its fur and flesh, and their castoreum glands were used in pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
The species owes its survival to the Gard naturalists and especially to Galien Mingaud, the director of the Museum of Natural History at Nîmes which, in 1909, called for a law for the preservation of beavers.
The ten beavers on the banks for the Gorges du Gardon don’t build dams like the Canadian beaver, but they maintain the sides of the river by eating two kilos each of vegetation a day.
15,000 beavers now thrive in fifty French departments as opposed to a paltry 100 in the 19th century.
Click here to watch a video of Gilles Larnac talking about his tours and the history of the local beaver.