1st October 2022 was a monumental day for people in England as the long-extinct species of Beavers finally returned to the country. Almost 400 years after its approximate extinction due to hunting and habitat loss, Beavers returned to river Otter in Devon after a successful trial run by Devon Wildlife Trust, which was started in 2015. On the same date, The Wildlife Trusts and the Beaver Trust doubled their celebration when Beavers were officially recognised as native species in England and a European protected species. This new law came into force as Beaver- this mammal- was considered to do a great job restoring wetlands across Britain.
The Wildlife Trusts initiated the reintroduction of Beavers in the country. Now that Beavers have officially habituated, the trust is seeking a cognisable solution and plans from the government concerning the sudden return of the species. While earlier this September, the British government published guidance that outlined Beavers’ future in the UK. Unfortunately, the Beaver Trust and The Wildlife Trusts became skeptical about landowners’ quality and quantity of support. They even argued that the proposal lacked ambition and detail.
Beavers are known for improving water quality in rivers and stabilizing water flow during times of drought and food, storing carbon and boosting other wildlife. However, the government’s plans might not be sufficient for the widespread increase in the number of beavers in the UK.
While the trial run by Devon Wildlife Trust for the reintroduction of Beavers in England was a success, the UK government understandably argued that there was a chance that the Beavers might remain in the wild and spread naturally to other rivers.
Harry Barton, the Chief Executive of Devon Wildlife, stated: “A summer of record-breaking heat and drought has highlighted the urgency of making our landscapes more resilient to the unfolding climate emergency. Beavers have created green oases in our parched river valleys because of their ability to store water through dam building and wetland creation. And we know they can reduce peak flows in times of flood and help improve water quality. The Government’s recent announcements on protection for beavers and their management are good news, but they lack clarity and a sense of urgency. We need a clear plan and timetable, so these amazing animals can become part of the wildlife of rivers throughout England.”
Lastly, the reintroduction of Beavers in the UK has been a stepping stone in the journey of bringing back extinct animals and helping our ecosystem flourish healthily.