Sunday, February 01, 2015

British Beavers - Castor fiber

The European Beaver, Castor fiber.

The beavers of the Otter River have won a reprieve. The government, through the agency of Natural England, has pulled back from its plan to capture and remove the beavers and granted the Devon Wildlife Trust the responsibility to monitor their health and welfare, at least for an experimental five year period.

Stephen Morris, writing in the Guardian, reported the news with some useful background and another piece in the Guardian by John Lister-Kaye discusses the established beaver colonies in Scotland.

A framework for decision-making was set up by Natural England in 2009 with the publication of their report, The feasibility and acceptability of reintroducing the European beaver to England (NECR002). The report can be downloaded here.

Morris writes that "The trial could lead to the re-introduction of the creature across England."  and Andrew Sells, Natural England’s chairman commented: “Future decisions by Natural England on the release of beavers will, in large part, be informed by results of this trial."  

So while it is unlikely that Natural England will grant further reintroduction licences during the coming five-year trial period, after that, if all goes well, a wider programme may be considered.  It is worth noting that in each of France and Germany the beaver populations may be as high as 10000, there could be 70000 in Norway and even a couple of hundred in Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, according to a BBC report, Natural Resources Wales may look for faster progress.  Tim Jones, executive director of operations for north and mid Wales at Natural Resources Wales, said: "The possibility of reintroducing beavers to Welsh rivers needs serious consideration.  They have the potential to help us improve the quality of our natural resources including water quality, wildlife and fish populations."

Perhaps now is the time we should be considering other sites suitable for beaver occupation.  If a population can be sustained in such a densely settled and intensively farmed nation as the Netherlands, surely space can be found in Lincolnshire.

The Environment Agency is shortly to commence work on flood alleviation schemes on the Rivers Lud and Bain to protect Louth and Horncastle.  Perhaps beavers might help.  



1 Comments:

Anonymous Shaun Chamberlin said...

Hear hear!

2:12 pm  

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