‘Justin Beaver' Spotted Near The Wharf in Southwest DC

20 years ago, a beaver family wreaked havoc on the cherry trees in the Tidal Basin

As Washington, D.C., gears up for cherry blossom tourist season, a toothy rodent has made a reappearance.

A beaver was spotted in the Washington Channel off the Southwest Waterfront as cherry blossoms reach stage three of their development: extension of florets.

The varmint was spotted Friday near the Wharf in Southwest D.C., scrounging on a piece of wood and staring into the distance.

The scaly tailed rodent, nicknamed "Justin Beaver" by the people who spotted it, could be a bad sign for the District's cherry blossoms: 20 years ago, a beaver wreaked havoc on the trees.

According to Washingtonian, the debacle unfolded on April 3, 1999, when visitors to the Tidal Basin were shocked to see a Yoshino cherry three had been gnawed through and toppled over "in full flower."

The next few days, four more trees were discovered with beaver damage, and residents took to the streets to patrol the Tidal Basin.

"When a midsize female was caught, it seemed the ordeal was over," Washingtonian reported. "Then rangers trapped a small pup...Finally, on April 13...a large male was taken into custody."

It turned out the cherry trees were feeding an entire family.

Beavers are native to North America, according to the National Zoo, but no word is out yet about a new beaver hunt.

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