A fight is brewing in Fargo as animal rights campaigners try to stop a planned beaver cull in city parks.
The Fargo Forum refers to a "growing chorus" of people who want Fargo's Park Board to reconsider its plan to trap and kill beavers that have been destroying mature trees in Lemke and Trefoil parks.
Megan Batholomay is one of the leading voices.
"We're a civilized community living in 2015," she told the newspaper. "Is this the only way? What else have we tried?"
Bartholomay has launched a petition which criticizes the methods using in trapping and calls on the Park Board to stop the cull plan. As of Tuesday the petition had just 950 signatures, but it's since exploded to more than 18,000.
"The beavers of Fargo attract tourists and are key to the ecosystem," the petition says. "They do not deserve to be killed for doing what is in their nature."
The campaign is also gathering support through social media, via the hashtag #beaverbackers.
Park Board President Joe Deutsch told the Fargo Forum that he would be happy to listen to any alternatives put forward prior to the trapping starting, which is slated for this fall or next spring.
However, director of parks David Lemke told the Associated Press the main priority is protecting trees in the parks, and that anything other than a cull could simply shift the problem.
"Anytime you live trap an animal and move it, it could be moving the problem somewhere else," he said.