Animal advocates will be delighted to hear that Enfield County Council are going to reintroduce the beaver to their London borough as part of their aim to challenge climate change and bolster ecosystems. Beavers were present in London no less than 400 years ago so this is a huge milestone in wildlife regeneration and conservation.
A male and female beaver are being released in the grounds of a historic mixed farm in Enfield, north London. They are both two years old and will begin living there today at a specially designed 15-acre enclosure in the grounds of Forty Hall Farm.
This is a joint project with Enfield Council and Capel Manor College. At present the farm is home to many rare animal species. It is run by the college which is a further education institution specialising in learning about the environment.
Ian Barnes, Enfield Council’s deputy leader said that he hoped that the reintroduction of the beaver would eventually “reduce the risk of harm from flooding following extreme rainfall, protecting hundreds if not thousands of local homes.”
The beaver was hunted to extinction in Britain in the 16th century for its fur, meat and glands. Beavers are seen as very useful wild animals because they are natural engineers restoring wetland habitat through dam building and felling trees. They filter water systems in the landscape and attract wildlife and reduce flooding downstream.
There have been successful reintroductions of the beaver in other parts of the UK. Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, beaver restoration lead at the Beaver Trust, hopes the pair will reproduce by next year. She said:
“We’re delighted to be returning beavers to live in such close proximity to this urban area, working with an extended veterinary team to ensure highest welfare for the animals.”
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