Beaver dam collapse wreaks havoc in Quebec

A Canadian beaver swims in a pond at the St-Felicien Wildlife Zoo in St-Felicien, Quebec on October...

A Canadian beaver swims in a pond at the St-Felicien Wildlife Zoo in St-Felicien, Quebec on October 31, 2011. (REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:33 PM ET

Hospital surgeries were cancelled, phone service was knocked out and technicians were sent scrambling on Quebec's north shore after a beaver dam collapsed, chopping a fibre-optic cable.

The Internet was also cut off when the large rodent-made structure gave way on Monday evening along a highway 750 km northeast of Montreal.

The cable was severed at a point where it crosses a river.

The local health network was hit hard. Some labs at the hospital in Sept-Iles, Que., were shut down and appointments were cancelled as a precautionary measure to avoid possible errors during manual data entry.

This past spring, a beaver dam flooded a north shore highway.

BEAVER: FRIEND OR FOE?

Canadians have had a love-hate relationship with our national critter, as evidenced in these stories from recent years:

— Conservative Sen. Nicole Eaton, peeved about chunks chomped from the dock of her cottage, pushed for the polar bear to replace the beaver as Canada's official animal. The senator called the beaver "a has-been" and "a big rat, that doesn't reflect our new values."

— Officials in Bonnyville, Alta., blew up more than 70 beaver dams that threatened to flood farmland.

— Ramara Township, Ont., paid trappers $100 per beaver after the rodents overran the area. "They breed faster than we can trap them," one official said.

— Residents of Ottawa's Stittsville community successfully rallied to prevent the city from killing two beavers that had moved into a local pond.


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