A dead beaver found earlier this month in Southold Town is believed to be the first sighting of a beaver on Long Island in nearly a decade, environmental officials said Saturday. 

State Department of Environmental Conservation workers responded April 10 to reports of a beaver carcass on Narrow River Road and Main Road in Orient Point, a DEC spokeswoman said in a statement.

DEC staff confirmed the carcass was that of a male American beaver, weighing about 34 pounds. While it is believed the animal may have died after being hit by a motor vehicle, the beaver’s carcass is undergoing analysis to confirm the cause of death, the spokeswoman said. The beaver is thought to have most likely swum from Connecticut to Orient Point.

Beavers are a rare find on Long Island. There is no known breeding population of beavers here, DEC officials said, and they were believed to have been eradicated from Long Island after heavy settlement and development took place during the Colonial period.

So far, the DEC has confirmed only one beaver sighting on Long Island from 2008 to 2011, in East Hampton. 

The carcass found in Orient is with a state-contracted pathologist who will determine safe disposal at an approved facility, the DEC spokeswoman said.

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