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Cheshire’s reintroduced beavers breed for second time

Posted: 18/07/23

A pair of beavers that were released into the wild have bred for the second time, the Cheshire Wildlife Trust said.

The Eurasian beavers were released at Hatchmere, near Delamere Forest, by the trust three years ago.

Their first two kits – young beavers – were born last summer, the first to be born in the area in 400 years.

Now three more kits have made their appearance, as the animals help stimulate the reserve’s ecosystem.

By creating dams and holding water, the beavers are encouraging previously unseen species into the area such as kingfisher, stoats and waterfowl.

Young beavers spend their first few months hidden in a lodge, when they eventually venture out into the world they set to work felling trees and building dams much like mini versions of their parents.

The latest additions to the family mean there are now seven beavers living together at the release site, the trust said.

They are expected to stay near the family lodge for several years before dispersing to set up their own territory.

Kevin Feeney, reserves manager for Hatchmere, said it was “fantastic” to see the family growing.

“In under three years, we now have a nice little family living together creating a new diverse wetland landscape that didn’t exist previously,” he said.

Eurasian beavers were hunted to extinction across the UK in the 16th Century, being killed for meat, fur and a waterproofing oil they secrete.

Since the early 2000s, beavers have been reintroduced across the UK in various projects including one on the River Otter in Devon.

Fifteen families of beavers were given a permanent “right to remain” on the River Otter by the government in 2020.

The River Otter trial demonstrated how the animals’ skill replenished and enhanced the ecology of the river and their dams worked as natural flood defences, helping protect homes further downstream.

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