Ground breaking decision for British beavers

, 06 August 2020
Ground breaking decision for British beavers
Eurasian Beaver © David Parkyn Cornwall Wildlife Trust

After years of uncertainty, the Government has announced their ground breaking decision to allow England’s first wild breeding population of beavers to stay in their Devon home. The decision secures the future for this previously extinct native mammal to return to its natural wetland habitat in England, and means that beavers are now legally restored to both England and Scotland.

It is incredible news. As we struggle with the effects of the climate and ecological emergencies, beavers are a major ally in helping us to create landscapes that are resilient to flooding and drought, and which support thriving wildlife. The announcement is an acknowledgement by Government of the important role of the beaver as a natural ecosystem engineer in helping us to restore important habitats and to future proof our landscapes. These quiet but enigmatic creatures need our help to recover from 400 years of extinction – and now we have permission to do that.

With beavers set to arrive in Sussex very soon at the Knepp Wildlands project and on land owned by the National Trust on the edge of the South Downs, this paves the way for beavers to have a long term future in our County. It also underpins the need to work together to produce a national beaver strategy. With so many beaver re-introductions happening now, we need a national strategy will ensure that the transition back to landscapes with beavers in will be smooth for the people readjusting to their return.

Fran Southgate, Living Landscapes Adviser said:

“We are overjoyed and relieved to hear the news about beavers. It presents us with a huge opportunity to work with beavers and landowners at a catchment scale, to restore some of the critical functions of our natural river systems”.

The Wildlife Trusts and others will now be working closely with Defra to secure the national status of beavers and to allow them to be reintroduced into other river systems in England. Bringing beavers back where they belong is part of a bigger story. Beavers are just one of the ways that the Wildlife Trusts are leading the way with Nature Based Solutions to the Climate and Biodiversity crises.

More information on the announcement on beavers can be found here.

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