The death of a local beaver has been announced by the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT).
The body of the adult female was found near Langford Bridge in East Devon by an anonymous member of the public who reported the death to the charity.
“It’s sad news. Beavers like to stick to water or close to water, but they will cross land and roads within their territories,” says DWT’s Steve Hussey.
“Recent heavy rains and high river levels may have meant that this beaver chose a land route rather than battle against the force of the river. Like all wildlife, beavers are vulnerable when they cross our roads.”
DWT is leading the ‘River Otter Beaver Trial’, a five-year study looking into the impacts of what is thought to be England’s first wild breeding population of beavers in 400 years.
The beaver population living on the River Otter is estimated to be between 25 to 30 animals.
The dead beaver was taken by DWT for autopsy where it was discovered she was a four-year-old in good condition.
“She was in good health and weighed just over 21kg. Beavers in the wild can expect to live to around 12-14 years of age, so this individual was still young,” says Hussey.
“However, her health and good condition is a positive sign for the wider population of East Devon beavers.”
A decision on the long-term future of Devon’s wild beavers will be made by the Government at the end of the River Otter Beaver Trial in 2020.
Main image: Beavers have been reintroduced to the UK in a number of locations. © Arterra/UIG/Getty