The BBC reports a pair of beavers have been reintroduced to Dorset as part of a nationwide trial.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust is monitoring a male and a female beaver in the west of the county. They are being observed by wildlife experts in a large freshwater habitat, with footage captured on night cameras. The species went extinct in the UK 400 years ago, during the 16th Century.
The Daily Telegraph, and The Times report beavers should be given legal status as a native species, the Government has been urged ahead of the start of the Scottish killing season. The Beaver Trust, a charity, has, in partnership with a range of other groups, drawn up a series of proposals on the future of the “sometimes troublesome” dam-building creatures which were almost hunted to extinction.
BBC report fifteen families of beavers have been given the permanent “right to remain” on the River Otter in East Devon. The decision was made by the government following a five-year study by the Devon Wildlife Trust into beavers’ impact on the local environment. The Trust called it “the most ground-breaking government decision for England’s wildlife for a generation”. It’s the first time an extinct native mammal has been given government backing to be reintroduced in England.
The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph report three families of beavers are to be introduced on land managed by the National Trust as part of plans to ease flooding and improve biodiversity. Two Eurasian beaver families will be released next spring into enclosures at Holnicote estate on Exmoor, in Somerset, and another group will arrive at Valewood on the Black Down estate, on the border of West Sussex and Surrey.
Beavers were hunted to extinction 400 years ago in the UK for their fur, meat and scent glands. In recent years there has been a series of controlled reintroductions, including one by the government in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, as solutions are sought to tackle flooding.