Defra to draw up national beaver reintroduction plan following 5-year trial

  • Defra to draw up national beaver reintroduction plan following 5-year trial

Defra to draw up national beaver reintroduction plan following 5-year trial

As a result, the government announced the beavers would be allowed to stay permanently, expanding their range naturally - the first legally sanctioned reintroduction to England of an extinct native mammal.

This is the first time that the United Kingdom government has supported the reintroduction of an extinct native mammal.

"Whilst this announcement by Defra is very welcome, it's now vital that decisions are made on the national status of beavers that allows them to be reintroduced into other river systems in England".

Natural England chairman Tony Juniper said: "The River Otter trail has been a brilliant success, thanks to the professionalism and dedication of the team at Devon Wildlife Trust and Natural England scientists who have worked with them".

The River Otter, like many of Devon's rivers, is also home to otters.

Over the course of five years, the researchers found that other animals in the area benefited from water bodies modified by beavers.

On a visit to the project, Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said: "Thanks to the hard work of the Devon Wildlife Trust and their partners, the River Otter beavers reintroduction trial has proven highly successful - improving biodiversity and water quality, mitigating flooding and making the local landscape more resilient to climate change". We now look forward to working towards the next stages of management of beaver more widely across England. Peter Burgess, director of conservation at Devon Wildlife Trust - the organisation which has overseen the reintroduction trial - spoke to the Guardian and explained the ups and downs of the trial. "Their benefits will be felt throughout our countryside, by wildlife and people".

So a new pair of beavers was released on to the catchment in 2016 to boost the population's genetic diversity, and a further two beavers were released into different parts of the river in May 2019.

There are high levels of public support for beavers returning to England, and some landowners are keen to use the landscape engineering they perform to help "rewild" parts of the countryside to help nature.

The Government is planning a consultation later this year on the national strategy for beavers in England and how to manage them. Through our involvement with the Trial we have seen at first hand the benefits beavers can bring to society. Alongside all members of the ROBT we are calling for the government to support this. "The Wildlife Trusts aim to put at least 30% of our land and sea aside for nature's recovery by 2030 - creating more space for nature and protecting and connecting those areas to bring our wildlife back".