Thursday, 27 June 2013

Beavers to return to Wales in 2014?

Welsh Beaver Project planning to reintroduce beavers to Wales in 2014

June 2013. Since 2005 the Welsh Beaver Project, which is led by the six Wildlife Trusts in Wales, has been investigating the feasibility of undertaking a managed reintroduction of beavers to Wales for the many benefits their presence can bring to wildlife, the environment and the economy. After much investigation and consideration, the River Rheidol (which enters Cardigan Bay through Aberystwyth) is looking like the most promising site for an initial pilot reintroduction and local consultation is underway.

Assuming everything goes according to plan, 30 - 40 young (2-3 years old) beavers, (equally split between males and females) sourced from a combination of captive bred beavers from collections within the UK and beavers from Norway, will be released in the spring/summer 2014.

Once widespread
Beavers are native to Wales and were once widespread from Britain to Siberia, but hunting by humans for fur, meat and scent glands dramatically reduced their populations and led to their extinction from Wales by around the 15th century.

Ecosystem services
Beavers are natural managers of rivers and wetlands, performing ‘ecosystem services' that assist many other species, including humans. They are herbivores, eating vegetation, coppicing bankside trees, creating glades and enabling woodland and aquatic plants to flourish. This provides ideal habitat for insects, birds and mammals, as well as increased food for fish.

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