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The Wildlife Trusts welcome golden opportunity for beavers to be wild - The Wildlife Trusts

New beaver consultation could herald better wetlands for wildlife and climate

The Wildlife Trusts welcome the launch of a consultation by the Government today, which asks the public if they want to see beavers released into the wild in England.

To date, the only officially sanctioned beavers living wild in the UK are in Scotland and along the River Otter in Devon, where Devon Wildlife Trust has worked with the local community to ensure they can thrive.

The Wildlife Trusts believe beavers should be allowed to return to the wild across the UK and expand their range naturally. The movement of 46 charities has been calling for ambitious strategies in England and the devolved nations to enable this to happen.

Rob Stoneman, director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “The Wildlife Trusts are paving the way for the return of wild beavers by mapping out the best river catchments for reintroducing them. It’s vital to plan this using science from successful initiatives in the UK and across western Europe. There’s an impressive body of evidence to show how beavers can help to improve the quality of rivers and wetlands and the wildlife they support, improve water quality, and reduce flood risk, as well as contributing to carbon storage. Beavers are fabulous – they can do all of this free of charge. Beavers are wild animals – and as their populations expand their activities will need managing. The Wildlife Trusts have played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in the return of beavers in a responsible manner. We and our partners, such as University of Exeter, hold significant knowledge and skills that can be used to aid beaver reintroduction and management. For example, our leading role in the 5-year trials on the River Otter in Devon and in Knapdale in Argyll and Bute, along with lessons learned from abroad, has given us a huge amount of experience as to how to manage these animals effectively.”

Posted on: 25 August 2021

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