The Beaver’s Journey

Swedish return

In the summer of 1922, it was finally time for the beaver couple to move to their new home in Sweden. On July 3, 1922, the two beavers were put back in the wooden box and placed on a horse-drawn carriage under the care of Sven Arbman.

The next morning they were transferred to the train. After this, the box was moved to the steamboat. Next came a day of horse-drawn carriages, automobiles, and motorboats over the difficult landscape.

On July 5, the box with the beavers was placed on a pile of hay sacks on the horse-drawn carriage so that it would be less bumpy. After 7 km they changed to a motorboat to cross a lake. Three more kilometers over land took them to a new motorboat and after that it became a horse-drawn sleigh pulled by a North Swedish Horse.

The beavers finally arrived at their new home in Leipikvattnet, Sweden, at 2 o'clock in the morning, Thursday 6 July 1922.

The journey with beavers to the launch site was so complicated that Eric Festin decided to make it easier in the future. When a new male beaver was to be released in Frostviken in 1934, Festin arranged a seaplane from Östersund to Leipikvattnet. Aircraft were a fairly new technology at the time — the first regular passenger aircraft in service in Sweden had begun in 1933 between Stockholm and Gotland. A beaver was thus one of Sweden's first air passengers! It took only an hour and 45 minutes for the plane to arrive with the beaver. Eric Festin was in one plane and the beaver was in the other. This was the first use in the world of aircraft for such a reintroduction project.