Push to bring beavers back to Gloucestershire after Forest of Dean trial

There is a plan to bring beavers back to Gloucestershire Credit: David Parkyn

Beavers could be making a return to Gloucestershire after more than four centuries.

The species has already been reintroduced to fenced-off areas like Greathough Brook in the Forest of Dean and Cotswold Water Park.

However, this will be the first wild release of beavers in Gloucestershire since they were hunted to extinction.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) and Forestry England are working together on Project Beaver, which has just begun.

The charity is raising money for a feasibility study, which will allow it to find the best locations for the beavers, as well as locations that won’t work.

GWT’s ecosystem recovery manager Anna Tarbet said: "The beaver feasibility study will be assessing what’s possible when it comes to reintroductions here in Gloucestershire.

"We’ll be looking at biological aspects, such as where’s the right habitat, but also what impact they could have on humans and humans on them.”

Anna added: “We’ll be working with landowners and communities every step of the way, making sure we understand the possible impact of beavers on agriculture and livelihoods at any proposed location.

"It’s a true feasibility study, so we’re not going in with any locations in mind. It’s really exciting to see where the project will take us.”

Beavers are known as "ecosystem engineers" and only cut down the amount of wood they need to construct their dams, GWT said.

It added that these dams have an incredibly positive impact on the landscape by creating vibrant wetlands where other species can thrive.

These wetlands increase biodiversity, sequester carbon, store water and improve floodattenuation, the trust said.

Ben Robinson, planning and environment manager at Forestry England, said: “We have already seen the changes beavers can bring to a landscape at Greathough Brook.

"These amazing animals are a keystone species, and known as an ecosystem engineer they can restore habitat, by creating feeding and breeding opportunities for a range of other wildlife.

"It’s fantastic to be exploring opportunities to bring back a free-living beaver population to the county.”

You can find out more about the Project Beaver appeal here.

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