Reintroduction of wild beavers to West London

The beaver residents of London

Everybody is familiar with London, a sizable, dynamic capital of the United Kingdom which is home to about 9 million people. And now imagine a couple of beavers living peacefully side by side with Londoners. That it’s not believable? In no way. The beavers just reported another triumph. The positive news is already spreading following the reintroduction of the two beavers—a male and a female—into the Enfield neighbourhood of north London in March 2022 (read more here).  A baby beaver was born a month ago to the proud beaver parents, making it the first such birth in centuries.

Ealing’s beaver project

After the happy announcement from Enfield, another remarkable ecological advancement has occurred in the other area of London. Five Eurasian beavers, including a breeding pair and their three young, were transferred from Scotland and released at the Paradise Fields wetlands area in Ealing, which is a part of west London’s town Greenford.  After a more than 400-year absence, wild beavers have triumphantly returned to London’s Ealing neighbourhood. This endeavor is part of the Ealing Beaver Project, with a dual purpose: reducing the risk of flooding and fostering a greater connection between people and nature.

The beavers’ role in flood mitigation

According to the head of the Ealing Wildlife Group, Greenford is considered as a high-risk flood zone, and climate change will only make that situation worse. The beavers should be able to contribute to its protection by creating wetlands and a series of dams throughout the area, which will act as a huge sponge. In fact, beavers’ tendency for building dams and creating wetlands makes them a natural asset in reducing flood hazards, and their introduction to the area holds promise for the local environment. The rewilding effort also receives significant supports from the mayor of London who highlighted the invaluable role of beavers in ecological restoration. “Beavers are nature’s way of building dams, helping the wider ecosystem,” he said, “It’s good for humans, it’s good for nature, it’s good for our city.” 

Conservation and rewilding efforts

The restoration of wild beavers to the United Kingdom is an important step forward for conservation. Over four centuries ago, these resourceful animals were hunted to extinction in the UK for their meat and fur pelts. Nevertheless, there has been a change in attitude in recent years as a result of coordinated initiatives to restore beavers to diverse areas. In 2022, they were legally designated as a protected species in England, paving the way for further conservation and rewilding efforts.

Please note, that this content is based on a CNN article by Callum Sutherland entitled  Wild beavers return to west London for the first time in 400 years.

One thought on “Reintroduction of wild beavers to West London

  • Interesting to learn about role of beavers in flood mitigation

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