Natural England Approves Trial Release of Beavers

Natural England Approves Trial Release of Beavers

A licence will be issued to Devon Wildlife Trust permitting the managed release into the wild of beavers on a 5 year trial basis.

From: Natural England

First published: 28 January 2015

Part of: Protecting biodiversity and ecosystems at home and abroad andEnvironment

A licence will be issued to Devon Wildlife Trust permitting the managed release into the wild of beavers on a 5 year trial basis.

Natural England’s Board has today, Wednesday 28 January, confirmed that a licence will be issued to Devon Wildlife Trust, permitting the managed release into the wild of beavers currently resident in the River Otter catchment in Devon, on a 5 year trial basis.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s licence application has been thoroughly assessed against the internationally recognised guidelines published by theInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The licence is subject to a range of conditions, including confirmation that the beavers are of Eurasian origin and are free of the Echinococcus multilocularis parasite.

Under the terms of the licence, by September at the latest, Devon Wildlife Trust must develop a management strategy to deal quickly with any undesirable impacts which the beavers may have on the River Otter during the trial period, as well as a monitoring programme to study their impacts.

Andrew Sells, Natural England’s Chairman commented:

Reintroduction of a species is a complicated and emotive subject and we have considered this application very carefully. Responses to our written consultation and public meetings have been generally positive and we are now satisfied with Devon Wildlife Trust’s plans for managing and monitoring the project, which will allow important evidence to be gathered during the trial on any impacts which the beavers may have.

Future decisions by Natural England on the release of beavers will in large part be informed by the results of this trial. The unauthorised release of beavers remains illegal and Natural England does not expect to grant any other licences for beaver release during this trial period.

Trapping and testing of the animals for Echinococcus multilocularis will be carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency under a separate licence that was granted towards the end of 2014.

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