Beavers to be reintroduced in west London to help tackle climate change

Credit: Wolfram Steinberg/DPA/PA Images
Beavers were hunted to extinction in Britain in the 16th century Credit: Wolfram Steinberg/DPA/PA Images

Beavers are to be reintroduced to west London after 400 years to help tackle climate change.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to transform Paradise Fields in Greenford into a wetland for the animals to live in.

Last year, wildlife experts introduced two beavers, nicknamed Justin and Sigourney Beaver, to Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, north London, but the male beaver died before the pair could breed.

Beavers were once found throughout Britain but the animals were hunted to extinction in the 16th century for their fur, glands and meat.

A wetland for a new pair of beavers will be created to help combat the climate crisis and promote a biodiverse ecosystem.

The Ealing Wildlife Group has said the animals could be released as soon as autumn this year.

So far, £850,000 is being spent on 22 projects across the capital helping to bring other animals such as bats and bees to the city.

Other projects include setting up a pollinator corridor through Thamesmead, south-east London, to boost the number of rare Shrill Carder bees.

Parts of Barnes Beverley Brook in Barnes, south London, will also be rewilded to encourage bats, fish and birds while around 3,000 square metres of wildflower meadows are set to be created at Beckton Park Meadows in Harrow, north London.

In total, the 22 projects will enable around 116 hectares of priority habitat to be restored or created, the equivalent to five St James’s Parks.

Mr Khan has now announced an extra £1 million will fund new rewilding projects that restore habitats and look to bring species back to London.

The money will also be used to fund a new wild space as large as 140 football pitches.

The London Rewilding Taskforce has found 11 potential 100-hectare sites to be transformed into London’s first area dedicated to rewilding.

Areas that could be rewilded include Ruislip Woods in west London, Enfield Chase in north London, Thames Marshes in Bexley or the Bromley Downs in the south of the capital.

A further £1.45 million has also been invested so far through the Rewild London Fund.

Mr Khan said: “We are now facing dual climate and ecological emergencies worldwide, which further threaten our ability to survive on our planet.

“Despite the harm inflicted on the natural world, we have the power to make amends, and I am committed to ensuring that London is at the vanguard of efforts to reverse the trends of declining biodiversity and the destruction of nature.

“Rewilding allows nature to take the lead and is an exciting way to create healthier ecosystems and allow humans and wildlife to live together more harmoniously.

“I’m proud that London is leading the way once again and excited to see what can be achieved with this further £1 million of funding.

“We’re cleaning up our city, re-establishing lost species and reconnecting people and nature as we build a greener, fairer city for all Londoners.”

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