Beavers have been returned to west London for the first time in around 400 years in an attempt to improve the capital’s biodiversity.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, helped release the herbivorous rodents at Paradise Fields in Ealing on Wednesday.
The project is supported by the Mayor’s Rewild London Fund, which aims to create new green spaces and encourage wildlife, as well as Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund.
It is hoped the beavers will help turn the location into a flourishing wetland, making for an improved ecosystem in which plants and animals can thrive.
“We are facing climate and ecological emergencies worldwide, but we have the power to make a difference, and I am committed to ensuring that London is at the forefront of reversing the trends of declining biodiversity and the destruction of nature,” Mr Khan said.
“I’m proud that we are turning London into a wildlife haven, as well as making the city more resilient to the effects of climate change, as we work to clean up our city, re-establish lost species and reconnect people and nature, building a greener, fairer city for all Londoners.”
Beavers were hunted to extinction in England around 400 years ago but thanks to reintroduction efforts their colonies can now be found in Kent, Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire and Oxfordshire.
The presence of beavers can be beneficial to other species, with their behaviour – dam building, canal digging and creating deadwood – helping create habitats for birds, amphibians, fish and others.
The Mayor’s Rewild London Fund has provided £2.3 million to projects across the city, creating or restoring around 350 hectares of wildlife habitat.
Zak Watts, director of Europe sustainability at Amazon, said: “Bringing nature back to the communities where we live and work is a core purpose of our Right Now Climate Fund.
“Reintroducing a family of beavers to the capital will not only help Londoners discover and reconnect with nature but also help improve our city’s biodiversity challenge.”
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