Beavers could return to Wales

An application to reintroduce 10 beavers to the wild has been resubmitted to Natural Resources Wales. 

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The Welsh Beaver Project initially submitted an application over a year ago to Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and has subsequently submitted another.

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The beavers could be introduced at an undisclosed location, though the River Rheidiol in Ceredigion has previously been identified as a possible location.  

“The evidence coming from Britain and Europe is that they can be beneficial for ecology, helping with reducing flooding and filtering water, and have important consequences for the landscape,” said Alicia Leow-Dyke, the Welsh Beaver Project officer for Wildlife Trusts Wales.

Concerns have been raised about this potential reintroduction.

“There is evidence that beavers will cause damage to crops, trees and exacerbate flooding,” said Hedd Pugh, rural affairs board chairman of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Cymru. “We are not aware of what measures will be in place to control such impacts.”

The beaver was hunted into extinction around 400 years ago in Wales, and reintroduced beavers would be sourced from Europe.

There is only one species of beaver that is native to Europe, so the introduced beavers would be the same species as those living in the UK prior to their extinction.

In Scotland, beavers have been reintroduced in a five year trial and were recently formally recognised as a native species by the Scottish Government. 

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Read more about the reintroduced beavers in Scotland