A beaver and her kits at the River Otter. Picture credit: Mike Symes/ Devon Wildlife Trust
Rare footage of mother and baby beavers in the River Otter
Public invited to take part in a national survey on whether beavers should be reintroduced permanently into Britain
These five-month-old kits are some of the first beavers to be born in the wild in England for hundreds of years. The mother and father beaver and their five offspring are part of a trial into whether beavers should be reintroduced into England.
Beavers tend to have one litter per year and this picture and footage shows a female with two of her offspring in one of the officially licensed trials on the River Otter. Last year this female gave birth to five young, higher than the average of three young per litter. The mother is shown in the video grooming herself as her offspring nibble vegetation. Kits tend to stay with their mother for two years.
The Eurasian Beaver (Castor Fiber) was resident in Great Britain until approximately 400 years ago when they became extinct after being hunted for their meat and fur, which was used as a fashion accessory for hats, coats and gloves. There is now a debate about whether the dam-building animals should be reintroduced into England.
Scientific research trials examining the potential benefits and disadvantages of reintroducing the beaver are now taking place. Experts at the University of Exeter are independently monitoring the impact of small populations of reintroduced beavers upon people and the environment.
An independent and impartial study by the University of Exeter is now evaluating public attitudes to beaver reintroduction in Great Britain. To have your say and take the survey go to the survey page. Those who complete the survey can enter a draw to receive an iPad mini. The survey closes on 1 March 2017.
Date: 27 January 2017