Trust release two new beavers into River Otter

PUBLISHED: 10:05 26 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:05 26 May 2016

Beaver taking first steps in new home credit: Nick Upton/naturepl.com

Beaver taking first steps in new home credit: Nick Upton/naturepl.com

Archant

Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) has taken an ‘exciting’ new step in its project by introducing two more adult beavers on the River Otter.

The charity released one male and one female of the species on Monday evening on private land close to the river.

Natural England sanctioned the release as part of the DWT’s River Otter Beaver Trial. The five year project is being led by the charity to study the impact of England’s only wild beaver population.

Currently there are 12 beavers know to be living on the river.

Peter Burgess, who is overseeing the project, said: “The genetic diversity of the beavers needed to be increased to ensure that we have a healthy population. So tonight’s release was a crucial and exciting next step in the story of reintroducing this keystone species back to the wild, restoring our river catchments. We’re very happy with how it went.

Devon Wildlife Trust plans to monitor the progress of the beavers over the coming weeks. Their new home has been equipped with cameras, allowing the charity to get vital insights into beaver behaviour.

Mr Burgess added: “This pair of beavers may move down river to mix and then breed with the existing population very soon, or they may decide to stay-put, pair up and breed.

“Then it will be their offspring which mix and mate with the other beavers. Either way the outcome will be the same; the genetic diversity of beavers living wild in East Devon will have been enriched. That is our goal.”

For more information about the progress of the beavers and video footage of their release visit Devon Wildlife Trust’s website www.devonwildlifetrust.org.

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