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Reintroduced beavers providing broader environmental benefits

Date: 21-Apr-20
Author: Liam Taylor

Whilst the beavers were not deliberately introduced to Devon, they appear to be having positive benefits for local wildlife and people.

Whilst the beavers were not deliberately introduced to Devon, they appear to be having positive benefits for local wildlife and people.

A five-year study of reintroduced beaver populations in Devon, England has shown the species to have considerable benefits to the local ecosystem and other wildlife.

The study, conducted by a research team from the University of Exeter, showed beavers have alleviated flooding, reduced pollution and boosted populations of fish, amphibians and other wildlife. The team concluded by stating the species had brought “measurable benefits” to both wildlife and humans in the area studied.

The report aims to help the government decide whether to wild beavers should be allowed to be reintroduced to English waterways. It was commissioned after a group of beavers who had escaped from a captive population were found to be living wild on the river in 2013.

The local government initially planned to exterminate the animals but following strong resistance from the public they agreed to a scientific trial aimed at understanding their impact on the local ecosystem. In the five years since, researchers documented numerous instances the beavers positively impacted the areas they were living in, including filtering pollutants from rivers and slowing the flow of floodwaters during heavy rain events.

“Following five years of detailed research work, the report concludes that the positive impacts of beavers outweighed the negatives,” Professor Richard Brazier, lead scientist on the River Otter Beaver Trial, told The Guardian.

The study was funded entirely by the Devon Wildlife Trust and its supporters. The trial has been extended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until September, when a decision will be made on the beavers’ fate.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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