Wildlife rehabilitation experts are trying to save the life of a young beaver that was rescued near the CP Rail yard in Port Coquitlam Wednesday night (Feb. 9).
The female beaver, which appears to be less than two years old, was covered in fuel — possibly diesel oil — which penetrated through its fur all the way to the skin.
Langley-based Critter Care Wildlife Society was called to pick up the beaver at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday from an alert individual, who found the beaver at the edge of the Pitt River where some fuel oil had collected from an unknown source.
Critter Care operations director Brandon Dean said the animal's stomach had to be pumped to get rid of the fuel.
"It's fully ingested it. It was completely covered in oil or diesel, which soaked through both layers of its fur."
Staff are now waiting to see how the beaver recovers as it took several hours to capture and clean the animal.
"It’s going to take several washes for the diesel to come out, even though we’ve given her a bath. It's deep in its fur and the whole exam room smells like diesel," Dean told the Tri-City News.
Critter Care is also worried about other Pitt River wildlife that might be affected by the fuel spill and have contacted the Wildlife Rescue Association.
Today (Feb. 10) at noon, workers from the City of Port Coquitlam placed a boom to try to contain fuel in a watercourse between the Pitt River and the Traboulay PoCo trail near Fremont Village.
A reporter on the scene said he could see a film of oil and smell a faint oily smell.
City crews on the scene said the spill was worse earlier in the day.
It's not known exactly how the oil got into the PoCo creek, but tidal action from the river may have brought it in from the original source.
Meanwhile, Critter Care is worried about the safety of mammals, fish and birds that make their home along the Pitt River.
The Tri-City News has reached out to CP Rail, the Ministry of Environment, Department of Fisheries and Environment and Climate Change Canada for more information.
A spokesperson for the city said authorities have been notified of the spill.
The source of the spill, what it is and the full extent of it has yet to be determined.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.