Saturday, 7 May 2016

On the River Otter: studying the impact of beavers

A nice little April Fool's piece in the Express & Echo put the spotlight on Devon's beavers:
Renaming of River Otter to River Beaver 'will bring millions to East Devon economy' | Exeter Express and Echo

On a more serious note, the reintroduction of beavers has sparked debate about 'rewilding':
Futures Forum: On the River Otter: beavers and rewilding Devon ... and "trying to repair the monstrous damage we have inflicted on nature in Britain"

David Attenborough is not sure whether this is a priority, however:
“Putting beavers back [in the wild] seems relatively innocuous. But I just feel we’ve got enough on our plate as it is.”
Save what we have before 'rewilding' with wolves, says Sir David Attenborough - The i newspaper online iNews

Whatever the differing opinions, there is clearly need for more studies to be carried out:

£150k boost for West's wild beavers

By Western Daily Press | Posted: May 05, 2016

Devon Wildlife Trust picture of a mother beaver eating on the banks of the River Otter in Devon. The River Otter Beaver Trial is a vital piece of work, says its manager.

A wildlife project that brought beavers back to the West Country has been given a £150,000 boost.

Eleven wild beavers are thought to be living on the River Otter in East Devon – England's only breeding population of wild beavers.

Now the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust has provided £150,000 of funding to the River Otter Beaver Trial, which is measuring the animals' impact.

The funding will be used to support the next three years of the project, led by Devon Wildlife Trust in a partnership which includes Clinton Devon Estates, the University of Exeter and the Derek Gow Consultancy.

Mark Elliott, the trial's manager, said: "The generous support of The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust gives this unique and important project a firm footing. The River Otter Beaver Trial is a vital piece of work which aims to objectively understand what impact beavers will have on the local landscape and its wildlife, farmers and the wider communities."

The trial involves scientific study and working with local communities, as well as animal welfare and practical management.

Mr Elliott estimated it would need about £500,000 during its lifetime. He said: "Many people may have thought that the main task of the River Otter Beaver Trial ended when Natural England granted its licence in January 2014. However, this just signalled the start of a huge amount of work."

Businessman and philanthropist Peter De Haan said: "This innovative attempt to revitalise the beaver population in the River Otter has all the elements of a fantastic conversation project. We wish the Devon Wildlife Trust (and the beavers) every success."

£150k boost for West's wild beavers | Western Daily Press
£150k boost for project monitoring beaver impact on River Otter - News - Sidmouth Herald

See also:
River Otter Beaver Trial | Devon Wildlife Trust
Beavers on the Otter HOME

No comments: