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"Gaea" beaver statue vandalized Tuesday night

The abdomen of the "Gaea" beaver statue was vandalized with black paint Tuesday night. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The controversial "Gaea" beaver statue at the intersection of Fourth Street Northwest and Beltrami Avenue Northwest was vandalized Tuesday night.

A painted black vertical line is visible across the abdomen of the statue. Bemidji Police officers reported to the scene to take photos of the damage around the 11 p.m. hour.

No further information was immediately known.

"Gaea" is one of 10 beaver sculptures placed throughout Bemidji. Completed by Blackduck artist Deborah Davis, it features, on the belly of the beaver, a human figure rising from a sea of pinkish-red circles.

While Davis has said the front of the sculpture shows Mother Earth praying and the circles are roses coming forth from her hands, others have viewed the sculpture differently, seeing, instead, a portion of the female anatomy.

"Gaea" was removed from the Bemidji Sculpture Walk in July by City Manager John Chattin following public complaints.

After outcries of censorship, the decision was unanimously overturned a week later on July 6 by the Bemidji City Council and the statue was returned to its current location.