Photos from MyFOX News

Police patrolling the East River near the United Nations as part of increased security linked to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the General Assembly diverted their attentions momentarily to rescue a beaver who seemed to be in distress. Cops noticed that the animal, which was four feet long and weighed 40 pounds, seemed to be laboring in the strong currents of the East River and was swimming awkwardly.

Quick-thinking officers managed to lasso the beaver--and that can't be something that's taught at the academy--and pull it aboard their boat. They later delivered it to a ferry dock and the beaver was delivered to an animal hospital. Lt. John Harkins, who is the commanding officer of NYPD SCUBA, said the animal had "pretty big claws." There's video of the rescue at MyFOX News.

Beavers used to flourish around New York City until their pelts became an early mainstay of the city's economy. John Jacob Astor became one of New York's richest men by parlaying his beaver pelt fortune into a real estate empire, (that's why the Astor Place subway station features a beaver). Last year, a beaver was spotted in the city for the first time in 200 years. It was up in the Bronx. Perhaps yesterday's animal was looking for a home at Beaver House downtown?