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Natural England approves licence to monitor wild beavers

Natural England has approved an application from Devon Wildlife Trust to monitor the beavers currently living in the River Otter in Devon, United Kingdom. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) planned to remove the beavers due to a tape-worm carried by European beavers that poses a risk to humans.

However, Devon Wildlife Trust has been working with Natural England, Defra and the local community to find a solution that will allow the beavers to remain, whilst addressing the risk from disease. Devon Wildlife Trust has now been granted a licence to monitor the beavers and their impact on the environment, the local economy and local communities over the next five years. At the end of the five-year project evidence will be submitted to Natural England to help determine whether the beavers can remain.

Talking about the project, Devon Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Manager, Peter Burgess, emphasised the importance of working with local stakeholders: “The evidence from elsewhere shows that beavers should have an overwhelmingly positive effect, but this is the first time the animals will be living in a well-populated, agriculturally productive English landscape for hundreds of years. We need to ensure that any negative impacts of beavers are avoided. This will mean working alongside the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to manage any problems that may arise over the coming years.”

You can find out more about the project on the Devon Wildlife Trust website.