On the evening of Monday 23rd March, the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) released three beavers back onto the River Otter in East Devon, marking the official start of the River Otter Beaver Trial (see post on January 28th 2015).
A total of 9 beavers had been living wild in the River Otter, in two separate family groups, and following a successful campaign by local residents and DWT, they were allowed to remain on the condition that they were confirmed to be Eurasian beavers and free of some key diseases. The second family group were then released the following evening back into their own territory about 5 miles downstream.
Five of the beavers had been rounded up from their two territories by ecologists from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) with great care and precision. They were taken to a holding facility where they were screened for the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis by experts from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. At the same time, a wide range of other tests were conducted to confirm they were fit and healthy, and DNA samples taken to confirm their species, and also to allow their inter-relatedness to be determined. The 5 year trial was granted a licence by Natural England with a range of conditions which included a detailed exit strategy, which would be enacted should the research work suggest unsustainable and detrimental effects in the trail area.
Posted on March 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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