In light of one Canadian senator's recent declaration that Canada's national symbol of the beaver should be replaced by the polar bear, Canadians have been asking themselves one question: what animal truly represents us?
Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton said the beaver, Canada's national animal since 1975, is "a dentally defective rat" and thinks it no longer has a place as our symbol. Instead, Eaton defends the use of the polar bear:
"The polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity, is perfect for the part. The polar bear is the world's largest terrestrial carnivore and Canada's most majestic and splendid mammal, holding reign over the Arctic for thousands of years."
Over at U.S. website Treehugger.com, the site is taking a survey as to what animal they think should represent us Canadians. But who better to pick our new national animal than us? Treehugger's options include a beaver, a polar bear, a dead fish and a blackfly, with requests for more options in the comments. We at The Daily Brew, however, think that there are some better options out there. Here are the pros and cons of our picks for Canada's national animal:
PROS: It was chosen in 1975 in part because of its significant role played in attracting Europeans to North America. Without this rodent, Canada would likely never have attracted the early settlers in such a major way.
CONS: Their destructive tendencies have made them a nuisance to many farmers across the country. Uncontrolled populations are destroying farmland, hurting the yield and impacting these farmers' livelihood.
The Polar Bear
PROS: As Eaton said, polar bears are a force to be reckoned with. They are highly prized by the Inuit, relying on the animal in the past for meat and fur.
CONS: Sadly, as the habitats of polar bears are increasingly threatened, there has been a rise in the number of polar bear encounters in Nunavut and Manitoba communities. Both the people in the affected communities and the polar bears are in danger as the bears move closer towards humans.
PROS: We all know the loon well as the symbol on all of our one dollar coins, fondly referred to as 'the loonie.' The call of the loon evokes images of a pure, undisturbed landscape, and there is hardly a more Canadian image than that.
CONS: Because of the impact pollution and development have had on the loon's habitat, it has gradually been moving further south into the U.S. While the bird isn't uniquely Canadian, its loss of habitat may be pushing the loon out of our country, especially if drops in recent loon numbers are any indication.
PROS: Another strong and proud animal that calls many parts of Canada its home, the moose can be considered the embodiment of the phrase "strong and free." There are an estimated 500,000 to 1 million moose living across Canada.
CONS: Moose have proven to be a real menace in certain communities. Moose-vehicle accidents have become such a problem in Newfoundland and Labrador, a judge ok'd a class-action lawsuit against the provincial government for failing to control the moose population.
The Canada Goose
PROS: There's something reassuring about seeing the Canadian Geese return from their winter sojourn each spring. A familiar 'V' shape in the sky means that the end to winter is in sight.
CONS: The flip side of seeing Canada Geese in the spring as a sign of hope is having to watch them in the fall as a sign of an imminent winter. Combined with their vermin-like prominence in many public parks, few people would be excited to recognize the bird as a national symbol.
So Yahoo! readers, what should be Canada's national animal? Is there another animal missing from this list?