Beavers set to be released in London in urban rewilding drive

Beavers had been hunted into extinction in the UK for their fur, meat, and scent-glands

Lamiat Sabin
Saturday 03 July 2021 02:13
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<p>The semi-aquatic rodents’ dams benefit the environment</p>

The semi-aquatic rodents’ dams benefit the environment

Beavers are to be released inLondon in the UK’s most significant urban rewilding, it has been reported.

The industrious rodents will be brought to a site in Tottenham, north London, where there is a large marshland, by rewilding group Citizen Zoo.

It will be the UK’s most significant urban reintroduction of beavers, The Guardian reported.

Beavers, which are native to the UK and used to be widespread in England, Wales, and Scotland, are a keystone species and have been found to be beneficial to wildlife and humans through their role as engineers.

However, in previous centuries they were hunted to near-exinction for their fur, meat, and scent glands that are used to make perfume.

A recent government-backed study found that beavers’ building works had increased the number of fish and invertebrates in the River Tay in Scotland, as their dams slow the speed at which water flows downriver after heavy rain.

By building dams, digging ditches and coppicing trees, beavers can alter their surroundings to the benefit of wildlife and people. Beavers protect downriver land from flooding, reduce silt, and improve water quality through creating large areas of water-retaining wetland, according to the Beavers Trust.

These restored wetlands also provide essential an habitat for a wealth of plants and animals.

Ben Goldsmith, a non-executive board member at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed the plans, telling The Guardian: “We must have beavers back, living free outside of fenced enclosures, in all of Britain’s river systems including in our capital city.”

Citizen Zoo is trying to bring back nature across London and recently bought Tolworth Court farm in Kingston upon Thames, which the group hopes will become a haven for endangered animals.

Volunteers from the rewilding group Citizen Zoo recently crowdfunded a release of 200 water voles in Richmond, south-west London.

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