Beavers 'on the run' in Dorset after escaping from an enclosure

Credit: Sam Rose

Two beavers have "gone on the run" in Dorset after escaping from the enclosure they are in as part of a rewilding project.

Woody and Twiggy, a pair of two-year-old Eurasian beavers, left their home on Mapperton Estate and are currently enjoying an extended excursion along the banks of the Mangerton river.

The beavers were released into the enclosure last year under a licence from Natural England as part of the Mapperton Wildlands rewilding project. 

But recent storms and exceptionally wet weather meant damage was caused to the fencing and it is believed that this has facilitated their escape.

Staff from the estate, alongside Dorset Wildlife Trust, are working to locate and trap Woody and Twiggy so that they can be returned home safely.  

The beavers escaped after storms damaged fencing on their enclosure Credit: Mapperton Estate

Beavers are native to the UK and were commonplace in Dorset until they were hunted to extinction in the 1600s. 

They are known as a keystone species because of their important contribution to ecosystems through dam building and the creation of wetlands. 

The dams can also help mitigate flooding during storm events and improve water quality through sediment trapping. 

Eurasian beavers are now a protected species in England and it is against the law to harm them intentionally or destroy their homes.