German beaver fells tree on to yacht | News | DW | 22.10.2018
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German beaver fells tree on to yacht

Police said a couple making their way down the Müritz-Elbe waterway were "very lucky" to have survived the incident. Once on the brink of extinction, the beaver is making a comeback in Germany and across Europe.

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Elbe River Landscape biosphere reserve

A German couple narrowly escaped death when a large tree came crashing down on their yacht, state maritime police said on Monday.

A beaver felled a tree when the couple was traveling through the Müritz-Elbe waterway in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The beaver had managed to bite its way through a 20-meter-high (65.6-feet-high) poplar tree. The felled tree caused thousands of euros in damage to the yacht.

The aftermath of a beaver felling a tree

The beaver managed to nibble its way through the poplar

"They were very lucky," said a police spokeswoman. "Luckily the yacht was made of metal, so it was able to continue on its journey."

The couple happened to be below deck at the time of the incident.

Read more: Beavers on the rampage

Return of the beaver

Wildlife authorities have hailed the return of the beaver after surviving the brink of extinction in Europe.

"The Eurasian beaver, once widely distributed across Europe, was reduced to 1,200 individuals by the beginning of the 20th century due to over-exploitation for fur, meat and castoreum, as well as habitat loss," according to a Zoological Society of London study.

The Elbe River in Germany was one of five areas across Europe where the Eurasian beaver managed to survive. Legal protections and conservation programs have helped rehabilitate beaver populations across the continent.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently places the once-endangered beaver population in Europe at more than 330,000.

Read more: Why urban wildlife is thriving in Berlin

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ls/aw (dpa, AFP)

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