NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A second beaver is living in the Bronx River, 200 years after the animals vanished from New York City, officials say.
"A companion, a friend, a mate, an associate -- we don't know what it is," Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., told the New York Daily News. The first beaver was named Jose in his honor when it was discovered in 2007.
The pair were spotted this summer and photographed by a Bronx Zoo employee on part of the river that runs through the zoo.
"We've doubled the population of beavers in New York City," John Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society told the News.
Beavers were once so vital to the local economy that two of them grace the city's official seal and flag. But they were hunted to extinction for their pelts in the early 1800s.
The Bronx River has long been too polluted to support such wildlife, the newspaper said.
"The second beaver now just reassures us this was not a fluke," Serrano said. "This river is coming back to life."
Although the genders of Jose and his new friend are unclear, it is hoped they will produce offspring, the News said.