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London welcomes first baby beaver in 400 years following successful reintroduction efforts

A joint effort between two institutions paid off after a baby beaver was recently spotted for the first time in London after ages.

London welcomes first baby beaver in 400 years following successful reintroduction efforts
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Capel Manor College

Beavers are known for building dams and looking absolutely adorable to us humans. But unfortunately, the species was hunted to extinction in England long ago. It has been a while since someone has spotted a beaver in the country. However, it seems the beavers have not completely gone extinct from London because a baby beaver was seen for the first time in the area, possibly after 400 years. According to PEOPLE, a baby beaver was born in London, as part of a reintroduction initiative that began in 2022.



 

Enfield Council and Capel Manor College joined hands to work on a larger natural flood-management project last year and their efforts began to pay off in October 2023 when a baby beaver finally emerged in public sight for the first time in four centuries. Capel Manor College shared new images of the little beaver who is seemingly thriving in its habitat near Forty Hall after already being spotted this summer. The semi-aquatic rodents were hunted to extinction in the 16th century during the Elizabethan era as they were predominantly killed for their fur and meat, per The Guardian.

The tiny animal was also captured by photographers while it was swimming around and assisting with building a dam. This particular beaver sighting follows up after two years when Exmoor National Park in England discovered its own first baby beaver which was known to be native to the area. “This truly is wonderful news," Rick Jewell, the Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment told the outlet. "The adult couple are quite young so we weren’t sure that they would breed successfully in such a short space of time. You can already see the positive impact the beavers are having through their natural landscaping of the area."



 

“The beavers’ hard work creating a natural wetland ecosystem will contribute to excellent flood defenses, protecting the local area and hundreds of homes from flooding downstream to the southeast of the borough, while encouraging local biodiversity to thrive," he added. "They really are remarkable animals." Meg Wilson, who works as the animal collections manager for the college, stated that the "school is thrilled for this new arrival and has seen the developments the beavers are making and the improvements they have made to the wetland areas."

"We are now focusing our efforts on collecting data, which we hope will further evidence the positive effects the beavers are having on the environment," Wilson added. "As Capel Manor College’s conservation efforts grow, this continues to enable us to give our students first-hand experience of conservation and research.” In a statement released by Capel Manor College's website in 2022, they revealed how "two beavers – a male and female, both two years old – have been released into a specially designed enclosure within the grounds of Forty Hall Farm in Enfield."



 

 



 

Another report released by the college's website adds that Capel Manor College’s supervisory team had noticed earlier this year that the female beaver appeared to be pregnant. The beaver couple has also been extremely active over the past few months, expanding their sizeable domed lodge and felling several trees including a large willow, which will re-grow by shooting out new stems. Dams are also visible across the site, a sign that the beavers are getting on well and truly making Enfield their home.



 

 



 

According to the Smithsonian's National Zoo, Beavers regularly move between aquatic and terrestrial environments. Their small, dexterous front feet are well adapted to working on land. It's generally believed that beavers pair for life. They breed in the winter from January to late February, and females give birth in the spring. The baby beavers, also known as kits, typically stay close to their mother in the lodge for the first few weeks, nursing frequently and gaining considerable weight.



 

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