Finding Beavers on the River Otter
2020 has been a year of incredible challenges, for people and for wildlife. But one unusual creature has managed to overcome them all and is making an astonishing comeback in Britain, beavers.
Beavers are a keystone species. This means their tenacious activities can impact the environment to a much greater degree than the numbers would suggest. This allows other species to thrive. By stashing tree branches underwater, they can create new islands of growth, and this then creates habitats for a whole variety of endangered species like otters, water voles and some of our rare water birds.
One concern that some people have about the reintroduction of the beaver to UK rivers is the impact that their dams will have on the lives of migratory fish species, like salmon and trout, which have to travel upstream in order to spawn. But it's important to understand that beaver dams are quite low and compared to the metal and concrete dams that humans create, they're actually quite porous and most fish species can navigate them with ease.
The River Otter hosts, one of the largest populations in Britain, all descended from a few unlicensed releases, and now the five-year trial has concluded that the beavers can stay .