In Brief

Beaver Dam Stops Oil Spill

Beaver lodges, like this one in Wyoming, can help preserve local watersheds and habitat for wildlife. (Image credit: Wildlife Conservation Society)

Although they didn't have much of a choice, the beavers saved the day.

A beaver dam helped prevent a large quantity of oil from spilling into a reservoir of fresh water in northern Utah. The leak, from a Chevron pipeline, spilled 27,000 gallons (102,200 liters) of crude oil into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park. Between the spill and the bay is where the unlikely heroes had made their home.

"That dam absolutely saved the bay," Dalyn Erickson, a wildlife specialist, told the Associated Press. The dam held fuel in place and kept it from going any further, she said.

Unfortunately for the beavers, a half-dozen of the animals suffered severe burns to their bodies from the oil, and they are currently being treated at local animal shelters. Chevron Pipe Line Co. on Friday donated $10,000 to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah to help treat the animals, according to the Salt Lake Tribune

Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.