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Beavers: The cute creatures that could be crucial in flood prevention

Beavers could play a crucial role in the prevention of floods. Credit: PA

Wildlife officials say that beavers could play a crucial role in the prevention of floods.

The animals are native to the UK and used to be common, until they became extinct in the 16th Century.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are now hoping to reintroduce the animal into the county's countryside for the first time in over 800 hundred years.

The beavers will create dams which will slow down the flow of water and divert it onto the wet meadows of the Willington Wetlands Reserve and away from the village of Willington.

As well as flood prevention, wetland plants and healthier soils will absorb more carbon, ultimately reducing its impact on climate change.

Experts also say that the creatures will bring with them a positive impact on the local economy from nature tourism.

The family of beavers, which are likely to be brought from an established colony in Scotland, will be fully health screened and checked before being released into the wild in Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's CEO Dr Jo Smith said; "This is one of our biggest and most exciting appeals yet - the potential benefits for our wildlife and communities are huge.

"With people's help, we will bring beavers back and rewild the much loved reserve at Willington to create a wilder future for Derbyshire. Beavers are fantastic, eco-engineers and a natural solution to help slow the flow of water, reduce flooding risk and enrich habitat for more of our precious wildlife."

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There are already a number of plans in place to introduce beavers back into regions in the UK, with several areas including Cornwall and Devon already feeling the benefits that come with the creatures.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are now launching an appeal to help bring the family of beavers from Scotland into the Willington Wetlands reserve, using the hashtags #BackTheBeaver and #WilderWillington.

The trust hopes that the beavers will be reintroduced into the reserve by the end of this year.