Beavers work in progress (Photo: flickr/ Pete+Moore)

RIGA — Latvia’s capital Riga is offering cash prizes to residents who can come up with the best ideas for stopping a busy colony of beavers from destroying trees and bushes along its picturesque canal.

“We have no problems with the beavers. We have a problem with them felling trees,” city spokeswoman Dzintra Abolina told AFP on Thursday, recalling how a a 100-year-old oak nearly fell victim to the big-tooth semi-aquatic rodents.

Map of Latvia

To solve the problem, the local parks and gardens department is offering 300 lats (425 euros, 560 dollars) for the best idea for stopping the beavers’ destructive ways without actually harming them.

“We are waiting for effective solutions to protect trees and bushes, but which at the same time would show a humane attitude toward the beavers,” said the head of Riga’s city environment department Vjaceslavs Stepanenko.

Entries close on September 6 but already the city has received plenty of ideas, Abolina said.

“Maybe other cities and towns in the world could share their experiences on how to deal with this problem,” she added.