What’s going on here?

On the 1st of October, the Eurasian beaver was officially recognised as a native and protected species. This means any action which harms the animal or disturbs its habitat is now illegal in England.

What does this mean?

This is an incredibly important development which recognizes the contribution of beavers to fighting both the climate and biodiversity crises.

Beavers are a keystone species, meaning they have a significant and disproportionate effect on the ecosystem. Beaver dams slow river flow rate, reducing the impacts of flooding and drought as well as improving water quality. Furthermore, beaver dams have even been known to stop pollution reaching the sea from rivers.

The impact beavers have on water levels also increases local biodiversity, as they create vital habitat for amphibians, birds and insects. A study at the University of Stirling found that wetlands created by beavers contained 33% more plant species, and 26% more beetles!

A beaver dam

Why should we care?

Wetlands created by beavers can unfortunately  conflict with current land uses, especially farming, as their dams can create localised flooding and crop damage. This change in legislation is therefore important as a licence is now required to cause damage to beaver habitats. Conservation organisations strive to work collaboratively with local communities, farmers and landowners to manage the impact of beavers in a sustainable way.

Be Curious!

·   Check out the Beaver Trust and their award-winning short documentary Beavers Without Borders – available on YouTube!

·   The Wildlife Trust have expressed concerns about Government guidance over beaver management in the future. Find out more here

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