Licence bid to keep Devon beavers in wild

Ottery St Mary beaver. Pic: Tom Buckley Three beavers have been filmed on the River Otter in Devon

Related Stories

Wildlife campaigners are hoping to get official permission for a family of beavers to remain living wild in Devon, it has emerged.

Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) admitted it has "to be pretty quick" after the government announced plans to move the three beavers from the River Otter.

The government said the beavers could be carrying disease.

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has backed a campaign with 7,400 supporters to keep the beavers.

A recent sighting of beavers, thought to be two adults and a juvenile, in the River Otter was said to have been the first of its kind for centuries.

Nobody knows where the beavers have come from.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said they could be carrying a disease "not currently present in the UK".

Beavers Defra said it needed to assess the impact of beavers before allowing them into the wild

Environment Minister George Eustice said the government was considering "the best way" of rehoming the animals.

DWT said it was working to get a licence from Natural England for the "non-native species" to remain on the river.

Conservation manager Peter Burgess told BBC News: "There is a big process we have to go through.

"They have to be disease free, they have to be managed and the community wants them to be there.

"So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive."

He said that it would be a "complex experiment" to monitor and manage the beavers, which are thought to be the only wild breeding group of beavers in England and Wales.

Defra said: "We intend to recapture and rehome these beavers and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so.

"All decisions will be made with the welfare of the beavers in mind."

No-one from Natural England was available for comment.

Beavers were hunted to extinction in England and Wales during the 12th Century.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Devon



10 °C 7 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • Kinetic sculpture violinClick Watch

    The "kinetic sculpture" that can replicate digital files and play them on a violin

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.