Watch Vintage Footage of Beavers Parachuting into the Wilds of Idaho

Back in 1948, Idaho had a bit of a beaver problem. Idaho Fish and Game’s unique relocation tactic resulted in beavers parachuting from airplanes—and yes, this is a true story. There’s even a video called “Fur for the Future,” and it’s just as quirky as you’d imagine.

Boise State Public Radio reports that after World War II, people began building homes in new areas of Idaho, but there were beavers everywhere. An Idaho Fish and Game employee named Elmo Heter knew the beavers would thrive in the Chamberlain Basin, where they’d be away from people and would benefit the local ecosystem.

“The trouble is [. . .] there really aren’t and weren’t any roads,” Idaho Fish and Game’s Steve Liebenthal told Boise State Public Radio. So how would Heter get the beavers where they needed to go? One idea was to pack them in on mules, but the two species don’t get along.

“Horses and mules become spooky and quarrelsome when loaded with a struggling, odorous pair of live beavers,” wrote Heter in a report called “Transplanting Beavers” in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

That’s when Heter thought of a different idea, leveraging extra parachutes from the war to drop beavers from a plane. Boise State Public Radio reports the estimated cost in 1948 of dropping beavers from a plane was around $30 for every four beavers, about $388 in modern-day spend.

A Lost Video Found

In 2015, a historian at Idaho Fish and Game discovered the film “Fur for the Future,” which documents this bizarre event. The film had been mislabeled and placed in the wrong box, so it had been missing for decades.

In the 14-minute color film, now available on YouTube, you can watch as wildlife officials prep a bunch of beavers to drop from the sky in little boxes with parachutes attached. When they hit the ground, the box pops open, and the beaver walks free, presumably to the nearest body of water to start a new life.

Watch beavers parachute from the sky starting around 8 minutes and 15 seconds:

What do you think these beavers made of their wild trip to their new home?

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