The Eurasian Beaver
The natural range of the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) extends through most of Europe and through much of northwestern Asia. However, the modern range of the Eurasian beaver has become rather restricted and fragmented, and the species is now much less abundant than it used to be. The population declines are due to the conversion of the species' natural wetlands habitat into agricultural landscapes as well as overhunting. The European beaver has long been exploited as a natural resource, for both its thick, lustrous fur, and also a musky oil called castoreum, which is extracted from the anal or castor gland of this animal.