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Beavers set to breed in Norfolk for the first time in centuries

PUBLISHED: 10:19 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:35 01 October 2020

A beaver swims off to exlore its new home  Picture: Wild Ken Hill

A beaver swims off to exlore its new home Picture: Wild Ken Hill

Archant

Two more beavers have been released on the Norfolk coast as part of a ground-breaking scheme to hand thousands of acres of countryside back to nature.

Conservationists carry one of the beavers brought down from Scotland to its new home n Norfolk  Picture: Wild Ken HillConservationists carry one of the beavers brought down from Scotland to its new home n Norfolk Picture: Wild Ken Hill

It is hoped the animals will breed with two females released near Heacham earlier this year, re-establishing the species for the first time in East Anglia since it was hunted to extinction centuries ago.

MORE - Beavers return to Norfolk to spearhead rewilding project

A 60-acre fenced enclosure has been built for the animals between the A149 coast road and Snettisham Beach, within a 4,000-acre swathe of land earmarked for rewilding.

Females introduced to the site in April have been exploring their new home and building dams. Now they have been joined by two males imported from Tayside, in Scotland, to pair up and start new families with.

A beaver takes its first tentatve steps into its new territory on the Norfolk coast Picture: Wild Ken HIllA beaver takes its first tentatve steps into its new territory on the Norfolk coast Picture: Wild Ken HIll

Dominic Buscall, project manager at Wild Ken Hill, said: “We’re introducing beavers to re-wet and open up an area of woodland to boost biodiversity, but also to demonstrate this animal has an important role and a future in the UK countryside, and should not be subject to government-sanctioned persecution in Scotland, where 20pc of the wild population was shot in 2019.”

Fellow project manager Nick Padwick added: “Beavers are ecosystem engineers - they create habitat used by other species, like fish, insects and plants by building leaky dams and felling trees. We’ve introduced two males to pair up with the females already here - we hope they breed and transform this landscape together.”

The Beaver Trust, which campaigns for the animals’ reintroduction, says their dams will help stave off the climate crisis which threatens increasing extremes of drought and flooding.

Reintroducing beavers is part of a plan to rewild 4,000 acres of land between Snettisham and Heacham  Picture: Wild Ken HillReintroducing beavers is part of a plan to rewild 4,000 acres of land between Snettisham and Heacham Picture: Wild Ken Hill

“One fast way is to slow the flow in the rivers and streams that criss-cross our river catchments,” it says.

“Beavers build series of dams that filter out pollutants, reduce flooding, store water in pools for times of drought and attract a huge host of other wildlife.”

Over the coming months wild pigs, Exmoor ponies and red poll cattle will be joining the beavers to enhance pasture, heath and woodland across the 4,000-acre site, as nature makes its comeback to the coast.

It is hoped the beavers will improve wetland habitat and help to stave off the impacts of climate change with their dams Picture: Wild Ken HillIt is hoped the beavers will improve wetland habitat and help to stave off the impacts of climate change with their dams Picture: Wild Ken Hill

Two male beavers have been released in the hope they will pair up with females introduced earlier this year at Wild Ken Hill, near Heacham  Picture: Wild Ken HillTwo male beavers have been released in the hope they will pair up with females introduced earlier this year at Wild Ken Hill, near Heacham Picture: Wild Ken Hill


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