The results of a study into the possible reintroduction of beavers in Wales will be presented this spring. The feasibility study is being carried out by Environment Wales (NRW) on behalf of the Welsh Government.

NRW staff are studying beaver analyzes from England and Scotland to see how they can be applied in Wales. The objective is to develop a position and policy framework for the reintroduction of beavers and possible future legal protection of semi-aquatic creatures.

Conservation groups say that beavers can benefit many other animals and plants in rivers and swamps by creating a habitat. Any release of beavers into an enclosure or into the wild in Wales requires an NRW license and public inquiry. Issues such as site security, accidental beaver escape, labor practices and monitoring are considered.

The senior councilor was seen knitting during a Monmouthshire council meeting while answering questions.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “We have asked Natural Resources Wales to carry out a feasibility study on reintroducing beavers into Wales. Beaver reintroduction programs have proven successful in improving plant, wildlife and countryside health in the UK, but we recognize that they can also have unintended consequences, especially if not carefully managed. We look forward to seeing all the evidence presented in the study this spring.”

The Welsh government has said it has provided funding for the projects, including for beavers in a fenced enclosure in Cors Dyfe near Machynlleth (the beavers arrived there in 2021 after receiving a permit) and to develop a proposed release into the wild. on the River Dyfe.

Alicia Leow-Dyke of the Welsh Beaver Project said she plans to apply for the beaver to be reintroduced to Dyfi. She said the group also helped the Montgomery Wildlife Trust obtain a successful license for the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve. The beavers lived in a seven-acre enclosure, he said, and “lived very well.”

Miss Leow-Dyke explained that the marsh nature reserve was drying up after willows replaced conifer plantations. Beavers helped control the willow by growing it and eating its bark and leaves, he said. This should allow the marsh plants to establish themselves and improve the habitat.

Miss Leow-Dyke said that beavers eat willows, poplars and other deciduous trees such as hazel, as well as softer vegetation such as blackberries, water plants, sedges and reeds. Handling beavers is an important part of any animal release, he said. “There could be negative effects in some areas, so you have to make sure the government bodies are in place to mitigate that,” he said. “It was made in England and Scotland.”

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Eurasian beavers are now recognized as a protected species in England, following a similar move in Scotland. The National Farmers Union raised concerns that beaver dams pose a risk of flooding farmland and said the UK government should have at least put a clear management plan in place before introducing legislation to protect beavers in the area. England.

Farmer Nick Fox, who is also director of conservation group The Bevis Trust in Carmarthenshire, said he believes Wales is years behind England and Scotland when it comes to beavers. The Doctor. Fox said farmers backed a proposal he put forward a few years ago with the Welsh Beaver Project to reintroduce beavers to the Coween River.

He said he declined after being asked to provide more and more information from the NRW, including an assessment of water quality along 50km of the river, which he said required three years of baseline data. The Doctor. Fox said the Bevis Trust had a small number of beavers in pens that were set up nine years ago, before a permit was required. “The ones on our lake have a lot of fun,” he said.

Wales was a beaver stronghold until the 1600s, when hunting for their fur led to their demise, he said. “A beaver skin used to cost as much as a thoroughbred horse,” he said. The Doctor. Fox said that beavers are now present in the Wye, Severn and Avon rivers, among others, and the ‘beaver cheater’ pipe can be deployed if they block the culvert to keep the water flowing.

He said the belief among some fishermen that beaver dams prevent spawning salmon from swimming upstream is not true because rivers wash away dams when water flows. Dams also filter agricultural manure that enters rivers, he said.

The Doctor. Fox urged Wales to catch up with the rest of Europe on beavers. “Beavers have been studied to death,” he said.

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