They help protect against flooding, clean the waterways, look cute and keep those pesky trees under control and they may be moving to your neighbourhood (if you live near a river, which I don’t). Yes, following the decision to reintroduce beavers in Scotland later this year Natural England has conducted a study that has found that a reintroduction to England could be beneficial (more on the BBC website).
The benefits of the reintroduction include reduced flooding, tourism and cleaner waterways. I may be a bit blinkered about this, but to me these seem like pretty big advantages, with not too many disadvantages. It was a topic discussed on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today program and I was a little surprised by the comments against the idea. Included in the arguments are the problems now encountered with Grey Squirrels and Mink. The difference is that Beavers were native to the UK and we hunted them to extinction.
I know that the UK is a different place to that of 500 years ago, but so is the rest of Europe where Beaver reintroduction has been successful. We’ll just have to reintroduce wolves or lynx at some point to keep the numbers down!