Bringing Beavers Back to Wales
Helping nature recover in Wales
Beavers are known for their amazing ability to manage wetland habitats, breathing new life into them for the benefit of wildlife and people.
The Welsh Beaver Project has been investigating the feasibility of bringing wild beavers back to Wales since 2005. This work is being led by North Wales Wildlife Trust on behalf of all five Wildlife Trusts in Wales as part of our Living Landscapes strategy and we now hope to undertake a managed reintroduction to Wales.
The road to reintroduction
Feasibility studies were undertaken in 2008 and we have submitted a licence application to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for a managed reintroduction of beavers onto the River Dyfi. This will be a 5-year pilot to monitor the effects of beavers in the wild in Wales. Our plan is to release beavers into an enclosure at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi Nature reserve, where they will assist with habitat management on the reserve.
We have established a Beaver Management Network as part of our proposals and this includes setting up a network of beaver volunteers who will be on-hand to deal with any problems caused by beavers so that we can all enjoy the benefits that beavers bring.
In due course there will be a public consultation led by NRW for people to have their say and hopefully beavers will be back in the Welsh landscape once again.
Why are beavers important for wetlands?
Beavers were once widespread across the Wales, but due to over hunting by humans for their fur, meat and scent glands they became extinct after the Middle Ages in Wales and by the end of the 16th Century they were extinct from the rest of Britain.
Beavers are very special animals because they play a vital role in enriching biodiversity by restoring and managing river and wetland ecosystems. They are known as a ‘keystone species’ because their activities can benefit a wide range of other animals and plants that live in rivers and wetlands:
- Beaver dams and habitats can reduce flood risk
- Beavers create wetland habitats that help wildlife
- Beavers help people by improving water quality
Find out more about the benefits beavers can bring for us and our natural world from our Welsh Beaver Project Officer, Alicia Leow-Dyke, in the short video below.