They were hunted to extinction in the 16th century, but now beavers are making a comeback in the United Kingdom, with Wales being the latest region to look at bringing back the furry ecological engineers.
The Telegraph this week reported that the Welsh Beaver Project (part of Wildlife Trusts Wales) has applied to release 10 Eurasian beavers into an undisclosed location.
"The evidence coming from Britain and Europe is they can be beneficial for ecology, helping with reducing flooding and filtering water, and have important consequences for the landscape,” said Alicia Leow-Dyke of the Welsh Beaver Project. “With the beaver you're not looking at a single species, it can have such a wider benefit helping the ecosystem. Because we've had such a detrimental effect on the landscape for so long, this can help.”
Beavers are a keystone species, meaning that their role in the web of the ecosystem significantly affects and maintains other populations and portions of their habitat. But some, frequently farmers or landowners, fear that beavers may flood or damage their land.
The Fur-Bearers mitigate these impacts throughout Canada with flow devices, which either prevent beavers from damming an area, or measure and control the amount of water they dam. Tree wrapping, a low-cost solution, easily prevents select trees from being felled, as well.
In addition to the exemplary ecological benefits of beaver reintroduction to the UK, local tourism, naturalist clubs, and small businesses have seen an uptick in Scotland and England following reintroduction.
Beaver families want the same thing we do: a safe place to raise our families. And we can’t wait to see how successful these families in the United Kingdom can be!