Derbyshire's first beaver family in 800 years settle into their home after birth of new kits

  • Watch Derbyshire's expanding family of beavers exploring their new habitat

The first family of beavers to live in Derbyshire for 800 years has welcomed two new kits (baby beavers).

After four beavers were released into the Willington Wetlands Reserve, one pair successfully bred, and the first kits to be born in Derbyshire since the 13th century arrived in July last year.

For context, that means beavers haven't been born in the county roughly since the signing of the Magna Carta - so Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is "absolutely thrilled" and say they "look forward to the family continuing to grow!"

The Trust says the young beaver family will play a "crucial role in making Derbyshire wilder" and helping to "manage the landscape" of the Trent Valley.

The beaver reintroduction programme could also reduce flooding risk in the area, and store carbon, hence why the Trust has dubbed the creatures "climate change combaters and biodiversity boosters."

Henry Richards, from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said: "Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, staff and partners, this family of beavers has a resilient environment in which to thrive."

Two beaver kits on a late-night swim. Credit: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust/Ace Nature

He added that Willington has become "a mosaic of prime wetland habitats creating an important sanctuary for wildlife," because the beavers have "shaped and improved the site in ways that we couldn’t have imagined by coppicing trees and shrub species, damming smaller water courses."

The creatures have even been busy digging the start of 'beaver canal' systems.

Henry added the beavers also benefit other wildlife, like otters, water voles, kingfisher, egret, and bittern, a species of heron which have bred for the first time in Derbyshire.

The Trust has now recruited a 'Beaver Feasibility Officer' to focus on "building a long-term sustainable strategy" for the reintroduction of beavers to Derbyshire.

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