Thursday, 29 January 2015

England's beavers allowed to stay in the wild

Government rolls back on plan to trap England’s first wild beavers in 300 years, saying they can be released into Devon’s river Otter once they have been confirmed as disease free and of Eurasian origin

Wednesday 28 January 2015 14.30 GMT

The first beavers to live in the wild in England for 300 years are to be allowed to continue to swim free in a Devon river as long as it can be proven they are free of disease and of Eurasian origin.

Initially the government announced plans to trap the beavers, which are roaming wild in the River Otter, and confine them to a zoo or wildlife park, arguing they were an invasive species and could be carrying a disease.

But environmental campaigners – and many people who live and work along the river – launched a passionate campaign arguing the beavers were defined as non-native only because man hunted them to extinction.

Natural England’s board decided on Wednesday to grant a licence to Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) to allow the “managed release” of the beavers back into the Otter once they had been captured and proved to be of Eurasian origin free of theEchinococcus multilocularis parasite. The trust will be allowed to study the beavers and their impact on the environment over five years.

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