To Beaver or not to Beaver?

Several years ago, I visited Tierra Del Fuego, an incredibly beautiful island off the tip of Argentina, and home to the southernmost village in the world. This land of jagged snowy peaks is also the home to an enormous colony of beavers. These beavers are not native to Argentina, I was told, but were brought there from Canada in the 1940s by some ambitious entrepreneurs, who thought they would be able to make a fortune out of the beaver’s furs. Their reasoning seemed ingenious: the beaver’s only predator was the bear, and there were no bears in Argentina! With no predators, the beavers would multiply quickly, and they would reap the benefits, selling the expensive furs and making a fortune.

The plan was soon put into action, and 25 pairs of beavers arrived in Tierra Del Fuego. As the beavers went about their beavery ways, the entrepreneurs waited gleefully for the fruits of their labor. The beavers did indeed multiply, but something rather unexpected happened – the newborns did not develop thick coats like their Canadian relatives. In fact, their coats were totally useless.

The distraught entrepreneurs soon learnt that the beaver’s coat grows thick when the animal experiences fear. With no bears, there was no fear, and so their coats did not grow!

In our society, comfort is king. Anything that makes life easier and requires less effort, is prized. We have learnt to avoid confrontation and conflict, to value routine over the unknown, and security over spontaneity. Yet often it is the things that make us uncomfortable – the hard knocks, the disappointments and the losses – that challenge us most in our lives. They are the storms we wish we did not have to weather, yet they are the storms that make us strong. They give us maturity and responsibility, for what better teacher can we have than our own direct experience? When we embrace these hard knocks, we realize that everything is an opportunity for us to be more and more love, until we reach the point where nothing can ruffle our fur. Except maybe a ten foot grizzly bear!

Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author; her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

They should have left the poor little guys where they were. The idea of killing an animal for its fur makes me sick. What an ironic twist that their plan failed. In humans some stress does build character. You can't avoid it. How you handle stress is the key. You can learn from it, build upon it and become stonger or you can let it defeat you.

Tim Cheung
Tim C5 years ago


Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M5 years ago

Our Canadian beavers in Argentina? When you don't know for certain what the outcome will be, don't do it. Leave them in their natural habitats. This is what greed does, to me it is not being a true entrepeneur.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago


Shan D.
Shan D6 years ago

I did not know some idiots had tried to introduce beavers (OUR CANADIAN BEAVERS!) into a foreign ecosystem. Good for the beavers, not cooperating with these greedy "enterpreneurs"!

Heather Cobban
Heather c6 years ago

If there aren't laws against introducing non-native wildlife to ecosystems, there should be. Beavers don't grow fur in response to fear, but rather to insulate against northern winters. Still, I'm glad this greed-born enterprise didn't come to fruition quite as the would-be entrepreneurs had hoped. Still, there is now a colony of beavers multiplying in an ecosystem not evolved for them, and that can only spell hardships both for the wildlife there. Who will heal this - not the original money grubbers, you can bet.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

elvira m.
Elvira m7 years ago