A brief summary of beavers on the River Otter
A population of beavers has been present on the River Otter since at least 2008. Their presence wasn’t widely unknown until around 2014 when video evidence confirmed the presence of beaver kits (young beavers). It then became obvious that a small population was developing at the site. At this point, the UK Government initially planned to have the beavers removed from the river.
However, local residents and the Devon Wildlife Trust strongly opposed this decision and after numerous consultations with the local community, landowners and public bodies, an alternative plan was presented to Government. This plan was to allow the beavers to remain as part of a five year trial to monitor their effects on the landscape. This was finally agreed by government after confirming the beavers were disease free and were Eurasian Beavers rather than the North American species.
In 2020 the trial was completed and the associated report (see below) on the findings were reviewed. In August 2020 the government gave permission for the re-established colony to remain! This makes it the first legally sanctioned re-introduction of a previously extinct native mammal back into England and is fantastic news! The beaver population, living on the River Otter is now estimated to consist of up to at least 20 family groups, and it now has a secure future.
All about Beavers
Beavers without Borders
A great 15 minute video commissioned by the Beaver Trust all about beavers in the UK can be watched below.