Three beavers, whose activities delighted some strollers around the lagoon on the Northwestern University campus, were found dead recently.

Some animal lovers have voiced fears that the beavers were poisoned, but a university spokesman says that when the bodies were discovered they were too decomposed to have a necropsy done that could have determined the cause of death.

The spokesman said it’s not clear whether there are any surviving beavers on the campus at the moment. The beavers were initially reported living on campus in 2018.

After an absence of a decade, some beavers were spotted nine years ago in the North Shore Channel by workers at the Evanston Ecology Center, and their return was viewed as a sign that water quality in the canal had improved.

Whether the NU beavers arrived on campus by swimming through the canal to the Wilmette locks and then made there way down the Lake Michigan shoreline to the campus or took some other path isn’t known.

Related story

Beavers make home on NU campus (12/5/18)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.