GNWT brings back funding program for beaver castors

A beaver in Québec in 2015
A beaver in Québec in 2015. René Richard/Dreamstime

The territorial government said on Tuesday it will offer NWT harvesters and trappers $65 per pound of dried beaver castors.

The funding is essentially an advance for harvesters and trappers while the territory arranges for the goods to be sold at auction. If the castors sell for more, the trapper receives the proceeds as well as a prime fur bonus.

As beaver populations in the territory continue to rise, there is increasing interest from scientists and trappers in expanding beaver bounty programming. Thanks to global market demand, the territorial government program – which first ran last spring – has been deemed successful enough for a repeat.

The prize at auction isn’t the castor itself but the dried castoreum within, remnants of a yellow-brown fluid released by beavers alongside urine to scent-mark their territory. The castor sac is found between the pelvis and tail of beavers, near the anal glands.



While none of this may sound particularly appealing, the fluid is highly prized for its scent and flavour. Perfumers such as Chanel, Dior, Lancôme and Givenchy have been known to make use of castoreum, and it appears in food and drinks such as whiskey, ice cream, and imitation vanilla extract.

Approximately eight dried castors are needed for a full pound of product, and castors must be removed and properly dried to be accepted. More information and reference sheets on the procedure can be found online. Training can also be provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on request.

Castors can be submitted to ENR year-round. The next market auction for castors will be held on January 6, 2023, the department said.