North York Moors beavers become parents
Beavers that were brought to Yorkshire for a trial in natural flood management have become parents.
Two kits were born to the Eurasian beavers, which were moved in April to Cropton Forest in the North York Moors.
The five-year trial is monitoring the impact of the beavers' activity on artificial dams that were installed to slow water flow and reduce flooding.
Cath Bashforth from Forestry England said: "We are all very happy to see the arrival of two healthy kits."
She added: "With beavers being very social animals, the family unit will live together.
"It is fascinating to watch them explore their surroundings and they are quickly learning from their parents. I'm really looking forward to watching them grow and bond as a family."
Scientists say the five-year project is the first time the effect the species has on artificial dams has been studied.
Ben Ross, Scottish National Heritage's beaver project manager, said: "We were delighted to hear the news about this beaver family's new additions.
"We almost lost the beaver, an important 'ecosystem engineer' completely - there were only a few isolated and scattered pockets left in Europe by 1900.
"But their conservation has been a great success: there are now well over half a million in Europe and their numbers continue to increase - including in Scotland - and now in England."
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- Beavers became extinct in Britain 400 years ago, but have recently returned
- They are known as a "keystone species" because of the dramatic impact they have on their environment
- The Eurasian beaver is a large semi-aquatic native mammal that was once widespread throughout Britain
- They were hunted to extinction for their meat, fur and scent glands
- They can be up to 1m long, with a 50cm tail and weigh up to 30kg (averaging about 18kg)
- Beavers can now be found in Knapdale in Argyll on the west coast of mainland Scotland, and on the River Tay
- There is a small population on the River Otter in East Devon, and now in Cropton Forest, North Yorkshire
Source: BBC Countryfile/Forestry England