Beaver born in Dorset for first time in 400 years captured on camera

A beaver has been born in Dorset for the first time in more than 400 years.

Trail cameras have captured the young beaver, known as a kit, exploring a site in West Dorset with its mother.

It comes after two beavers were released into an enclosed site in West Dorset in February 2021 as part of a project by Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The trust is working alongside the University of Exeter and Wessex Water to examine the impact beavers have on the natural environment - including river flow, water quality and biodiversity.

Since the beavers were introduced to site, they have built dams to create a wetland to suit their needs. In turn, the wetland provides a home for many other species, such as frogs and newts which depend on water.

Rivers conservation officer Steve Oliver said the trust has been closely monitoring the pair, who have formed a "strong bond" since being introduced to the site.

He said trail cams have only identified one kit so far, but there could be more as beavers often have between one and four kits.

Mr Oliver added: "Seeing the first kit is an incredibly exciting moment for the project and breeding is a clear indication of normal behaviour and that the adult pair are healthy and happily settled in their Dorset surroundings.

"This local project is an enormous step forward on the journey to restore beavers to Dorset, helping us to raise awareness and understanding of what it means to have these influential mammals back in our county.

"Beavers have the potential to make a huge difference to our natural environment and can assist nature's recovery as well as providing other benefits for humans.”