There was a press release today saying that there are plans European beavers are to be reintroduced to Wales, returning this native species that was wiped out hunting 400 years ago. There are articles here on the BBC website and this video below, posted by the good folk at Wildwood in Kent.
Sadly and predictably, the NFU are against the plans, prompt this quick post in response.
One of the reasons for introducing beavers to the UK is their ability to create and manage wetland habitats but the spokesman for the NFU says “I haven’t seen any evidence that they’ll contribute anything to the eco-system.” Well here is one paper form a quick Google search here which shows that fish diversity may be improved. A recent news story was on the study showed the dams acted a fish nurseries for fish (can’t track down the link at the mo) and with a bit of reading around the benefits to other species that the dam habitat creates can be easily found out. I guess the spokesman just missed them all…..
In an even more astonishing comment he says the following:
The history as far as introducing mammals in particular is not a particularly good one.
“We’ve seen the grey squirrel, rabbits and even mink so in reality there isn’t much evidence to suggest they do any good at all.”
Comparing the native european beaver to the non-native grey squirrel, rabbits and even mink is either ignorant or irresponsible scare mongering. Beavers belong in the ecosystem of the UK, where as the destructive examples he used to try to justify the NFU objections It is interesting to see the plans as an introduction, implying an species will be just released into the countryside, as opposed to a reintroduction, where a species will be returned to an ecosystem where it belongs. Is it just ignorance or a carefully worded response to fool the public at large?