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University of Iowa's Furry Employees

Don Shall

When looking at Iowa waterways, it's easy to overlook the furrier creatures--otters, mink, muskrats, and of course, beavers.  

"They are engineers, there's no question about it," says Jim Pease, wildlife expert.

Facilities management arborist at the University of Iowa, Andy Dahl, decided to take advantage of that engineering instinct.

"What they've actually done is help us open the vistas. They are almost the perfect employees," says Dahl. "They work the night shift, they don't call in sick; they're so efficient I'm afraid they may jump over me in the org chart."

He says they'll go after any tree, though, so he fences off trees that don't need any sort of 'trimming' and allow them to go after the more invasive species like Siberian Elm, White Mulberry, and Tree of Heaven.

On this Wildlife Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Dahl and Pease about furry wetland creatures.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa