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Elderly Beaver Dies on American Trail

Buzz, a North American beaver on American Trail, was humanely euthanized on April 10, 2014.

Buzz was born at the National Zoo, actually in the beaver exhibit. He was nearly 14 years old, which is geriatric for a beaver. Despite his age, Buzz had been very healthy until about January, when he began having trouble using his back legs to stand and walk. The animal care staff treated his symptoms, but they became so severe that his quality of life dramatically decreased which led to the humane euthanasia decision.

Buzz was one of the first “celebrity” births at the Zoo—he and two littermates were born on camera in the beaver lodge, watched by staff, volunteers, and members of the public. Buzz was laid-back, calm beaver, and at 60 pounds, the heaviest beaver. According to keepers, he was usually the last one to come out of the lodge to eat and was very content any time he had food.

Chipper, Buzz’s brother and littermate, remains on American Trail. Animal care staff are not sure when they will find another beaver to join Chipper on American Trail. It is not uncommon for wild beavers to split off from their family groups in search of their own territories and mates. It's typical for them to live alone for a while.