London’s first reintroduction of Beavers in over 400 years has helped to restore natural habitat and decrease the risk of flooding.
Two beavers were released into a woodland enclosure in the grounds of Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, north London, on Thursday in a project by Enfield Council and Capel Manor College.
The male beaver, from a family in a flood reduction project in Yorkshire, was eager to get out of his straw-lined crate as it was carried through the six-hectare (15-acre) site and placed next to a pond created for the animals’ arrival.
After being released, he ran straight to the pond and slapped his tail on the water in front of members of the media.
They do an incredible job, and that’s why we are so pleased that, after 400 years, they’re back in Enfield
Ian Barnes, Enfield Council
When the female, a wild bear from Scotland’s Tay catchment, was released, she had to be coaxed from her crate.
She eventually emerged into a shallow stream to head in the direction of the male, who it is hoped she will hit it off with – and produce young, known as kits, next year.
Beavers are “ecosystem engineers”They restore wetland habitats by building dams and felling trees. This slows down, stores and filters water, which attracts wildlife and lowers flood risk downstream.
For the first time in over 400 years, Beavers were reintroduced to London!
A beautiful pair have been su… https://t.co/8j8EWMEIPw
— Beaver Trust (@Beaver Trust)
Enfield Council’s deputy leader Ian Barnes said the scheme was part of efforts to prepare the borough for the impacts of climate change, which is set to bring more heavy downpours to the capital.
The dams will be built by the beavers, which create little flooding areas and new ponds within the woodland enclosure. This encourages wildlife and slows down the flow of water to lessen flooding in urban areas.
For now, the two beavers are called Justin Beaver and Sigourney Beaver. However, the council intends to allow residents to choose their names.
After a two year project to reintroduce the beavers to Enfield, Justin was finally able to take to the water in the small pool that the team had created. “quite emotional”, Mr Barnes said.
He stated: “They’re not just beautiful creatures, they’re so good in the ecosystem, they encourage other animals and insects because of the ponds and dams they make. They do an incredible job and that’s why we are so pleased that, after 400 years, they’re back in Enfield.”
According to the council, it is also considering reintroducing species like goshawks. It would like to support kingfisher breeding and kingfisher nesting. The council also has plans to create a million-tree forest in the next four year.
There are plans to build a “beaver cam” to be set up, once the beavers have settled into their enclosure, to monitor them and give the public a chance to see the borough’s newest residents.
Although the species was once widespread in Britain, it was eventually eradicated by hunting for its fur, glands, meat, and other purposes.
Through official trials, illegal releases, or escapes, they can now be found in the wild along a variety of rivers in England and Scotland. They have also been brought into enclosures in several English counties.
We understand how vital biodiversity and nature are to the health of Enfield’s countryside as well as the well-being of its citizens.
Malcolm Goodwin, Capel Manor College
Conservationists await a decision from the Government on whether to allow applications for the release of the animals into the wild, subject to certain conditions.
Dr Roisin Campbell Palmer, Beaver Trust’s lead beaver restoration specialist, was on hand to ensure that the animals were released without any problems.
She stated that it was thrilling to see the species return to its natural habitat in such an urban setting as Enfield.
“It highlights that beavers as a species are so adaptable. This is not a species of wilderness, they can melt away into these landscapes,”She spoke.
They can also be found in cities throughout Europe. All they need is space, water, and food.
Malcolm Goodwin, principal of Capel Manor College, London’s environmental college, said: “We know how vital nature and biodiversity is for the health of the countryside and the wellbeing of the good people of Enfield.
“Our students know this too and they will have the opportunity to protect, monitor and understand the beavers and how they interact with their habitat and the local ecosystems.
“This is especially important as they will graduate to become custodians of the natural environment we all share.”