Endangered beavers could be reintroduced into the wild on the Isle of Wight as consultation launches

BEAVERS could be reintroduced into the wild on the Isle of Wight.

Friday, 25th February 2022, 1:06 pm

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is hoping to recover the populations of the aquatic mammal by releasing them into the Eastern Yar river next year.

A public consultation will be launched next Monday to gauge opinions from local residents.

Izzie Tween, beaver recovery project officer for the Wildlife Trust, said she is committed to revive paddle-tailed creatures on the island.

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A consultation to reintroduce beavers into the wild will be launched on Monday. Picture: Nick Upton/Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

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She said: ‘The Isle of Wight is an incredible place for wildlife, but nature is still declining here and faces threats from climate change, development, pollution and loss of wildlife and wild places.

‘We want to make the Island better for wildlife and we need the public's support to help put nature in recovery.

Beavers are known as ecosystem engineers, transforming habitats and creating wetlands that benefit wildlife and people.

The Isle of Wight's Eastern Yar river could soon be home to beavers. Picture: Iain McLean.

‘Beavers help reduce downstream flooding, filter out pollution to create cleaner water and create habitats that are advantageous for other species, including otters, water voles, birds, amphibians, insects and breeding fish.

‘All these benefits could really enhance our ecosystems with advantages for downstream communities and wildlife, and being a nature-based solution, beavers can be a cost-effective way to tackle these issues to help restore our Island rivers.’

The Eastern Yar river has been named as the best environment for the beavers, following a Wildlife Trust feasibility study.

They were supported by experts at Exeter University.

Conservation efforts have allowed beavers to make a resurgence in Scotland, Devon, Kent, Somerset, Wiltshire and Herefordshire.

The trust is hoping to submit a licence application to Natural England, necessary for releasing beavers into the wild.

Jamie Marsh, Deputy Director of Estates and Conservation Delivery at the Trust, added: “Beavers offer so much potential for restoration of our local environment, benefitting both people and nature. As a keystone species, beavers create a range of wetland habitats which are fantastic for a wide variety of wildlife.

‘In line with the Trust’s Wilder strategy, beavers will help deliver catchment scale restoration, creating long-term sustainable solutions to conserve, protect and enhance our local wildlife into the future.’

A questionnaire will be posted to Isle of Wight residents on Monday, and can also be found here.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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