Beavers win the right to stay in their river home

Last updated at 05:27
female-beaver-in-river-otter.Press Association/Devon Wildlife Trust
This is one of the female beavers living in the River Otter!

A big group of beavers have been given the right to stay in their home in Devon.

The beavers have been living wild on the River Otter for quite a few years and faced being removed.

They are England's first wild breeding population of beavers for 400 years, and there are now up to 15 family groups of them!

It is a mystery as to how the beavers came to be living there - it is thought they may have been released illegally.

But the beavers have now been given the permanent right to live there - it means the future is secure for the first-ever reintroduction of an extinct native mammal to England, Devon Wildlife Trust said.

Beavers were listed as an endangered native species - so the government decided to let them stay put and expand their home naturally, rather than being monitored.

The creatures are good for local wildlife as they clean up rivers, which is one of the reasons why the government agreed to let them stay.

Peter Burgess, director of conservation at Devon Wildlife Trust, said of the move to let them stay: "This is the most groundbreaking government decision for England's wildlife for a generation."

BeaverGetty Images

The species has been given protected status in Scotland, where it returned through an official trial, and illegal releases or escapes.

Wildlife experts still want more doing across the UK though to help different beaver populations, so the number of them can keep on growing, and so they can return to other rivers to create wetlands, boost wildlife, reduce flooding and improve water quality.

The government has said the Environment Department will consult later this year on the management of beavers in the wild and a national approach for any further releases.

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