George Eustace MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Marine Environment, and MP for the constituency of Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall) has replied to written question by Maria Eagle, the Shadow Environment Secretary, that, “We intend to recapture and rehome the wild beavers in Devon and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so…All decisions will be made with the welfare of the beavers in mind. There are no plans to cull beavers.” (see the Western Daily Press). To much public excitement and approval of the landowner, a family of beavers was spotted living on the River Otter earlier this year. It is not known where they came from, but the parents were probably escapees from a nearby reserve. These beavers are the first animals to have bred in England for several hundred years. The decision to remove them is controversial; many people would like the beavers to stay (see The Ecologist). Some are proposing that, providing they are of Eurasian origin and not carrying a particular type of tapeworm not found in Britain (Echinococcus multicularis), and with the approval of the local communities, they should be scientifically studied in a manner similar to the beavers released in the official Scottish trials at Knapdale, which ended recently. In this way, it is suggested, the environmental impacts of beavers on, for example, water quality, hydrology, flood alleviation and biodiversity in English rivers and wetlands can be properly assessed.
Posted on July 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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