Beaver Trust sees successful birth and release of its first beaver kit
ERF grantee partner the Beaver Trust has seen the successful birth of its first beaver kit at the Five Sisters Zoo, and the subsequent release of the kit at the National Trust’s Wallington Estate.
In July of this year a family of four Eurasian beavers from a wild population in Scotland were successfully released on the National Trust’s Wallington Estate in Northumberland as part of plans to boost wildlife and increase the landscape’s resilience to climate change. The adult female was found to be pregnant and taken into Beaver Trust’s holding facilities at the Five Sisters Zoo.
Delicate health checks, sensitive care, and detailed monitoring were required, as well as a bespoke habitat at the Five Sisters Zoo, to give the beavers adequate space and enrichment. Once the kit was strong enough, the family were transported to Northumberland where they were released on July the 12th. Footage from the estate shows that the beavers have settled and are already beginning to transform their surroundings.
Scientists and researchers maintain that beavers play a crucial role in revitalising biodiversity and finding solutions to climate change – their dam building creates flooding and wetlands, providing food and habitat which brings the return of other species. These include insects such as crane flies and dragonflies that attract birds and bats, water voles, and large predators like the white-tailed eagle. Additionally, these natural dams, where water is released slowly through leaky structures, makes river systems more resilient to drought by increasing base flows in dry periods and decreasing the risk of flooding downstream during high flows.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in the UK around 400 years ago for fur, glands and meat, but have been slowly reintroduced over the last 20 years. Although exact numbers are unknown, it is thought there are more than 1000 beavers in Scotland, and 400 in England.
Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, Head of Restoration at Beaver Trust, said: “The fact that we have a healthy young kit that has been born and raised by its family relatively normally and is now acting naturally in its new home is a testament to everyone involved at Beaver Trust and Five Sisters Zoo prioritising the family’s welfare and working extremely hard to keep the whole process, from trapping and transport to monitoring, to the care in captivity, sufficiently low stress. I’m really proud to have been a part of it.”
The Wallington Estate was the location for the conservation charity’s third beaver release, following successful introductions on Exmoor in 2020 and the South Downs in 2021.
You can view a film about the beaver kit here.