Beavers were hunted to extinction in Britain over 400 years ago. Now, thanks to sensitive reintroduction projects they are being returned in some places, allowing us to see just how amazing these natural engineers are at helping to improve wetlands and rivers for all sorts of associated wildlife.
To give them a secure future we need a clear beaver strategy for England and any delay will put those beavers already living amongst us at risk. We have been supporting colleagues across the county in asking the Government to stick with plans to publish a national beaver strategy as soon as possible, so these amazing native creatures can return to English waters for good.
Together with our friends in Wildlife Trusts across the country, we welcome the launch of a Government consultation that asks whether the public would like to see beavers released into the wild in England. At the moment, the only officially sanctioned beavers in the UK wild are in Scotland and along the River Otter in Devon.
What about Worcestershire?
The reintroduction of beavers is still in its early stages and it is essential to find the best possible sites for tests and trials. Unfortunately, because of the make-up of our county it’s practically impossible to find suitable locations in our area. Our rivers are often too large (like the Severn) or too prone to significant fluctuations (like the Teme and its tributaries) to suit beavers. Equally importantly, our rivers and streams rarely have sufficient easily-accessible woodland nearby and very regularly run through densely populated or heavily-farmed areas where reintroduction may not be successful. With these constraints in place it would need further discussion with landowners in areas surrounding smaller watercourses before we could consider it appropriate to introduce beavers in the county.
While that means we can’t take a lead role in this exciting work we certainly can lend our support to colleagues elsewhere in the country who can.