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After 400 years, Urban beavers have been introduced to London

After 400 years, Urban beavers have been introduced to London

13 October 2023

Earlier this month, in an industrial corner of West-London, a family of beavers was released into their new habitat – a scene that hasn’t been witnessed for at least 400 years!

Since beavers were hunted to extinction in the Elizabeth times, their wooded pond has severely changed. Now, their new home sits just a few hundred yards from a 24-hour McDonald’s and is surrounded by the sound of lorries along the A404. Uniquely, it didn’t seem to faze the semi-aquatic mammals as they nosed their way around their new home.

We have a number of local environment groups, the Beaver Trust, and Ealing Council to thank for making this reintroduction possible. It’s the first in a properly urban setting.

The beavers are an adult pair, with their juvenile daughter and two new, and also female kits. They have been brought down from Scotland, from an established population in Tayside.

One of the main reasons for their reintroduction is their role as “ecosystem engineers”. Beavers’ appetite for woody food in the winter, naturally improves biodiversity and their dam-building behaviour has been shown to maintain rainfall and moderate flooding. 

Dr Sean McCormack, chair of the Ealing Wildlife Group has said “Over the coming years they should provide effective nature-based solutions to urban problems such as flood mitigation and improved water quality.”