Beavers became extinct in the 16th century but since the 2000s have been reintroduced in Britain
Beavers have built their first dam in Exmoor in more than 400 years.
The semi-aquatic rodents, which had created the dam at the Holnicote Estate near Minehead after restoration work by the National Trust, are the first to have been released into the wild by the trust in its 125-year long history.
The animals have been seen on wildlife cameras gnawing at trees and collecting vegetation in the area as part of the process.
They settled into a 2.7-acre enclosure that is on the Somerset estate in back January, and have been monitored since by National Trust and Exeter University.
This comes after Doctors, scientists and the hospitality industry all say that Boris Johnson’s plans for a Christmas bubble is a mistake; for five days between the dates of the 23rd and the 27th of December, people throughout the UK will be able to mix with other families in a Christmas bubble.
Rangers have been calling the animals “ecosystem engineers” for constructing an “instant wetland” within the Somerset estate, just nine months after the introduction of water to the habitat.
Their construction of these wetlands has allowed for deep pools of water, which offers animals shelter from any predators, as well as a place for them to safely store any of their food.
Human communities also benefit, as beaver dams typically prevent flooding through slowing down and storing water as it flows downstream.
Project manager at the National Trust, Ben Eardley, said as we face climate change beaver dams are part of the “solution”.
He said: “It might look modest, but this beaver dam is incredibly special – it’s the first to appear on Exmoor for almost half a millennium and marks a step change in how we manage the landscape.”
“What’s amazing is that it’s only been here a few weeks but has created an instant wetland.
“We’ve already spotted kingfishers at the site, and over time, as the beavers extend their network of dams and pools, we should see increased opportunities for other wildlife, including amphibians, insects, bats and birds.”
It is currently “too early to say” if another nationwide COVID-19 lockdown will need to occur after Christmas, according to a senior cabinet minister. George Eustice has said that “you can’t rule anything out” when he was asked about further “stay at home” measures.
He added: “The recent rain we’ve had is a reminder of the significant role beavers can play in engineering the landscape.
“As we face into the effects of climate change and more frequent extreme weather events, natural interventions like this need to be part of the solution.”
Previously hunted for their meat and fur, as well as their scent glands, beavers first became extinct in the UK during the 16th century, but have been slowly reintroduced to a few sites in Britain within the past 20 years.