Forest of Dean beavers removed for parasite testing

Two beavers released into the Forest of Dean enclosure in the West of England last summer have been removed. They will be kept in quarantine and tested for the tapeworm parasite Echinococcus multicularis.  This is a precautionary measure because other beavers imported into the UK from the same area in Bavaria where they originally came from are said to be infected with the parasite. The parasite has a life cycle involving a canid (e.g. fox, dog) definitive host which sits in the small intestines and delivers eggs in the droppings, and an intermediate rodent host which becomes infected by ingesting the eggs. These rodents may then be eaten by the canid, thus completing the life cycle. The concerns are that Echinococcus is not found naturally in the UK, and humans are at risk if they inadvertently ingest an egg, say from a dog who has eaten an infected rodent. It can cause an unpleasant, sometimes fatal disease. Although this is a set back for the project, it is hoped to release two new beavers soon that are known to be parasite free (Gloucestershire Live, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review).

Posted on February 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm

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