Forestry England’s beavers in Cropton Forest have become parents, giving birth to two adorable kits. Video captured at the beaver site in Yorkshire shows the kits already swimming and settling into their new home with their mum.
Beavers are born precocial, meaning they are a miniature version of adults, seeing well and moving independently from birth.
Cath Bashforth, Ecologist, Yorkshire Forest District, Forestry England said:
“We are all very happy to see the arrival of two healthy kits. With beaver being very social animals, the family unit will live together.
“It is fascinating to watch them explore their surroundings and they are quickly learning from their parents. I’m really looking forward to watching them grow and bond as a family’
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) licensed the original beaver pair to be moved from Scotland to Cropton Forest earlier this year for a revolutionary trial in natural flood management. Spanning five years the trial will assess will the impact of the beavers’ activity on the long-term sustainability and maintenance of the “slowing the flow” artificial wooden dams.
Ben Ross, SNH’s Beaver Project Manager, commented:
“We were delighted to hear the news about this beaver family’s new additions. We almost lost the beaver, an important ‘ecosystem engineer’ completely – there were only a few isolated and scattered pockets left in Europe by 1900. But their conservation has been a great success: there are now well over half a million in Europe and their numbers continue to increase – including in Scotland – and now in England!”
Forestry England expect that the beavers’ activity in Cropton Forest will improve biodiversity in their new 10-hectare home and may have the potential to reduce the impact of flooding locally. Monitoring will continue on site throughout the five-year project to assess these ecosystem benefits.
Beavers can completely change their surrounding habitats for the better. They build dams to restrict water flow creating ponds of deep water, coppice trees and shrubs and dig canal systems creating diverse wetlands. These can bring huge benefits to a wide range of plants and wildlife.
As well as benefiting wildlife, beavers help humans by creating large areas of water-retaining wetlands which reduces flooding downstream. They also help to clean water and reduce silt levels. With all these benefits to people and wildlife, it’s fantastic to see beavers returning to our rivers in this trial project.