A population of beavers, of unknown origin, has been present on the River Otter since around 2008. However, when video evidence emerged proving that the beavers had given birth to kits (young) in 2014, the UK Government initially planned to have them removed from the river.
Devon Wildlife Trust opposed their removal and presented an alternative plan – to turn the situation into a five-year trial to monitor the beavers’ effects on the landscape.
Due to the amazing support of local people, landowners, farmers, businesses and the Devon Wildlife Trust, the government has agreed that the beavers can stay.
Why might the beavers be doing JPR out of a job?
Beavers were hunted to extinction in the UK hundreds of years ago. Their reappearance on the River Otter in Devon and analysis of their activities has shown that they are incredibly beneficial to the local environment.
Everyone knows that beavers are natural tree-fellers but they are also natural river engineers. Just like JPR, they manage vegetation, open out tree canopies and create leaky dams that create new habitats and prevent flooding downstream.
They really are a wonder – watch this delightful video from Devon Wildlife Trust (including some wonderful wildlife camera footage) of the beavers on the River Otter.