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Wild beavers return to rewilded Somerset area near River Frome

WILD beavers have been discovered at a Somerset site being rewilded.

In December 2022, the charity Heal Rewilding acquired a site on a tributary of the River Frome.

Now, it has confirmed wild-living beavers have taken up residence at the site, through natural dispersal rather than a reintroduction programme.

Their presence on site was confirmed through observation and surveying, the charity said, including the use of remote cameras used to capture images and videos of wildlife in their natural habitats.

Based on the activity seen, one or more young beavers are now exploring the land to see if it is suitable as new territory for them, they added.

The Beaver Trust, which is advising Heal on the discovery, has suggested that it is likely to be kits from beaver families already established in the surrounding area.

There are no signs yet of dams or a lodge being built but the Heal Somerset team will be monitoring carefully for any signs of this.

A lodge is a dome-shaped structure constructed by beavers as their home, made from mud, sticks and branches.

Jan Stannard, Heal’s chair of trustees and acting CEO, said: “Seeing these ecosystem engineers on our land is the most exciting wildlife event since we arrived at the site.

“They are a sign of nature taking back some control and could provide a crucial first step for natural processes to take shape.

“Beavers create thriving ecosystems by building dams, digging canals, and creating dead wood. They restore wetland areas which reduces flood risks, captures carbon and helps fight climate change.

“We really hope that they will find the habitat suitable and remain for the long term.”

Eva Bishop, head of communications at the Beaver Trust, added: “Beavers are a highly adaptable, mobile species which belong in our landscape.

“It is great to see this demonstration of them fitting back in and that land managers are welcoming of their arrival.

“Heal Somerset are taking a pragmatic approach of monitoring the wild animal’s return, maintaining their own adaptability and learning to live alongside the beavers.”

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