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Chapa, beaver missing from Riverside Park, returns home

Chapa the beaver eturned home Sunday morning, according to a Facebook post by the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit. The beaver escaped last week from an exhibit at Central Riverside Park.
Chapa the beaver eturned home Sunday morning, according to a Facebook post by the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit. The beaver escaped last week from an exhibit at Central Riverside Park. Courtesy of Kansas Wildlife Exhibit

Better than any Lassie story, Chapa – the wandering beaver – has come home.

The beaver who had been missing for nearly a week at the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit at Central Riverside Park returned to his pen Sunday morning.

“He’s safe and sound and chowing down,” read a post on the exhibit’s Facebook page.

Another post said, “He’s been checked by the vet. He’s in great shape and resting. Doctors orders.”

Apparently, Chapa was not accepting any visitors or interviews from local media on Sunday.

A volunteer at the exhibit told an Eagle photographer the chances of getting a photo of him were not good.

The volunteer said Chapa is incredibly stressed and “conked out in his den with a piece of yam in his hands.”

The beaver was adopted by the exhibit after it was found injured and orphaned three years ago in one of the muddy pools of Chisholm Creek Park. His caretakers were concerned about him surviving in the wild.

“He made his way back to the exhibit and was digging along the west side of his enclosure trying to get back in,” said Jim Mason, director of the Great Plains Nature Center. “He had dug a trench four to five feet long and several inches deep trying to get in.”

The shy, sensitive beaver perhaps may have become startled and prompted to return to his home quarters after Sunday morning’s loud thunderstorm, Mason said.

“In this case, I didn’t expect him to come back,” Mason said. “I expected we would find him and Connie (Chapa’s caregiver) would beckon to him and he’d respond to her voice. I think for him to make his way back from the river and up to the exhibit and then essentially bang on the door and say ‘Let me in’ is compelling enough evidence that he wanted to go back to what he knew as home.”

Contributing: Jaime Green of The Eagle

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