Beavers living in the River Otter will be allowed to remain in the wild after they have been tested for disease, following a historic decision by Natural England to issue a licence to ‘re-introduce’ the under-threat animals.
The move is a huge success for local people who want the beavers to remain in the River Otter and organisations such as the Devon Wildlife Trust (who will manage the re-introduction programme) and Friends of the Earth, which had started legal proceedings over Government plans to remove them from the wild.
There has been widespread national and local support for the beavers to remain in the wild. Over 10,000 people sent messages to the Minister for the Natural Environment, and at a recent event in the village of Ottery St Mary more than 100 people turned up, the vast majority in support of the beavers.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Alasdair Cameron, said:
“This is great news for Devon’s beavers. If, as seems likely, they can now remain in the wild, it will be a major victory for common sense and everyone who has campaigned on their behalf.
“Beavers add to Britain’s rich natural heritage and can bring huge benefits to the local environment, such as boosting wildlife and reducing flooding risks.
“Thanks to the hard work of thousands of individuals and organisations, our number of native species just increased by one. The next stage is to get the beavers tested and then returned to the River Otter where they can now swim in peace.”
“Hopefully we’ll now see renewed efforts to reintroduce beavers to other suitable locations right across the country.”
(from a press release)