Exmoor’s first beaver dam in 400 years

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Beavers build first dam on Exmoor in 400 years

Here’s some great news for conservationists and animal lovers. Near Minehead, on the Holnicote estate, beavers have built their first dam on Exmoor in more than 400 years.

The beavers were released by the National Trust 10 months ago. Wildlife cameras captured them gnawing on trees and collecting vegetation to build their dam across water channels that run through this Somerset estate. It’s great news partly because beavers were hunted to extinction in the UK in the 16th century. Comment: Britons were ahead of the game in respect of the destruction of wildlife. We chopped down all the trees in Scotland, shot the last wild cat in the south of England in 1835 and exterminated the entire beaver population in the UK by the 16th century. There is no way that Britons have a right to lecture any other country including China (I do criticise China!) because of this country’s ghastly history on conservation. It’s the reason why developing countries complain if developed countries criticise them for failures in conservation. They simply point out that developed countries failed in conservation before them.

Beavers build first dam on Exmoor in 400 years

Beavers. Photo believed to be by Devon Wildlife Trust or the National Trust.

It might look modest, but this beaver dam is incredibly special – it’s the first to appear on Exmoor for almost half a millennium. – Ben Eardley, project manager at the National Trust.

The dam rapidly created a wetland even though it’s only been in place for a few weeks. On the wetland they have spotted kingfishers. Eardley expects to see other wildlife including amphibians, insects, bats and birds inhabiting the newly created wetland.

The beavers were introduced by the National Trust (the first to be released in its 125-year history) to improve river quality and biodiversity. They selected a slow-moving river. The dams create deep pools of water and turns the adjacent areas into nature-rich habitats.