Beavers return to Cornwall

After being hunted to extinction in the UK 400 years ago, beavers are back in Cornwall. 

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Cornish beaver among lily pads in its new home

Cornish beaver among lily pads in its new home © Jack Hicks

 

On 16 June, the Cornwall Beaver Project released a pair of adult beavers into a fenced area on Woodland Valley Farm, upstream of Ladock village. 

“Friday was one of the best days of my life with the release of a pair of adult European beavers at our site,” said Chris Jones, owner of Woodland Valley Farm.

“It has taken three and a half years to get to this point, and followed from my thinking about natural ways to reduce flood risk following the flooding incidents in Ladock in 2012.”

One of the beavers inspects its new home © Jack Hicks

Beavers are a keystone species, creating new wildlife habitats such as ponds and pools.

Researchers from the University of Exeter will closely monitor the impacts of Cornwall’s newest residents, which will build upon research from other reintroduction programmes in the UK and across Europe.

“What a privilege to see a species returning to Cornwall so many generations after it was lost,” said Cheryl Marriott, head of conservation at Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

“We will be monitoring the effects of the beavers and will share the findings so we can all learn more about what these incredible animals can do.”

First swim in Cornish waters © Jack Hicks

The results will help the Trust determine whether this native species could once again become part of the Cornish landscape and provide a natural method of combating flooding across the UK.

 

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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