Guys, no permit is required

There is indignation, and then there's what happens when environmental activists see something that offends their sensibilities. A proposed new oil refinery, for instance. Or commercial whaling operations. Or, in a case that came to light the other day, an apparent illegal logging operation in northern Poland. It seems that some activists were out hiking when they spotted – to their horror – 20 neatly toppled tree trunks on the banks of a stream flowing through a nature reserve near the city of Subkowny. What's more, there were rings of wood chips on the ground around other trees that were still standing – an obvious indication that they'd been marked for harvesting, too. Of course, the matter was reported immediately to local police, who dutifully investigated. But now we learn that there will be no arrests, no one will be fined or do jail time, and the felled trees won't be confiscated. That's because although the evidence was still there when the police arrived, plus a fresh trail left by a tree that had been dragged away, the culprits turned out to be beavers that needed the wood for a dam they were building in the stream for winter. Disdaining tact, a police department spokesman told reporters that the environmentalists "are feeling pretty stupid" right about now. "There's nothing more natural," he opined, "than a beaver."

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