The river’s guardians say it’s not impossible
Might the banks of the Bronx River hear the pitter-patter of little paws?
Could be, say the folks at the Bronx River Alliance.
Four and a half years ago, the first beaver to make a home in New York City since the early 19th century settled in the Bronx River. He was named Jose, in honor of Congressman Jose Serrano, who has funneled millions in federal funds to cleaning up the river.
In 2010, when a second beaver joined Jose, the Bronx Zoo conducted a contest to name the newcomer. The winner: Justin Beaver.
But Justin just might be Justina, according to Linda Cox, the Bronx River Alliance’s executive director. Though she says there’s no way to be sure of the shy critter’s gender, she and others who work along the river have seen some signs.
That’s just wishful thinking, huffed Max Pulsinelli, the assistant director of communications at the Bronx Zoo. He’s Justin, and that’s that.
But a message left with Patrick Thomas, the curator of mammals at the Bronx Zoo, was answered by a spokesman, who said Thomas advised checking with the Bronx River Alliance, because they would have the most information.
According to Cox, not only might there be a mating pair of beavers in the river, but “There may even be babies.”
Added Damian Griffin, the Alliance’s director of education, the beavers “did some heavy tree dropping last winter and into the spring, which can be a sign of possible young, and we did find some branches stripped by fairly small teeth.” Griffin quickly added, “But we have no real proof.”
When Jose was first spotted, his appearance was greeted by great fanfare in the media, and hailed by both the zoo and the alliance as proof that their efforts to restore the polluted river and its banks had succeeded.
Cox says that’s still what’s most important: “It’s just very exciting that they’ve found a home in the Bronx River,” she said.
We’ll be keeping an eye out. Never know what a dusk visit to Mitsubishi Riverwalk at the zoo might provide,” added Griffin.