Time for the European voice on beavers. Starting with this excellent article from Alan McDonnell from Charity Trees for Life and getting a little more silly from there.
In Scotland, we are starting to live with our own pivotal reintroduction – the beaver. Renowned as nature’s engineers, beavers’ dextrous hands and iron-hard, orange incisors have transformed the river systems they have returned to across Europe. When beavers build dams, they clean sediment from the water and hold back floodwaters. Wetlands can form above beaver dams, creating a host of new habitats for plants and insects which in turn support almost everything that looks for food in a river – salmon, frogs, ducks, herons, bats, wagtails, ospreys and otters all have richer hunting grounds.
When the vegetarian beaver chews through a tree trunk, the tree is prompted to sprout new growth, so riverbank woodlands become dynamic, with young and old trees growing side by side, providing a host of new shelter options for wildlife seeking a home. As beavers return to our rivers, a Yellowstone-style cascade effect is within reach. But we also need to be practical about what it takes to co-exist with wild nature. Where nature and people’s use of land compete for space, there is potential for conflict. Twenty-six European countries have already reintroduced beavers and dealt with conflict between beavers, farmers and fishermen by managing the impacts that beavers have on people’s land uses.
If people and beavers can co-exist comfortably across Europe, we can do the same here.
Restoring habitats and reintroducing wildlife take time, money and long-term commitment. We profit hugely from the well-being and enjoyment the natural world gives us. Enabling nature to thrive creates a wilder, more robust environment which can uphold livelihoods and sustain hearts, for us and for the generations who will inherit our legacy in the land.
Well done, Alan! I love this letter, although beavers are in fact MUCH BETTER than Yellowstone’s wolves which get way more credit than they deserve. Beavers make habitat that sustains all that wildlife, and the truth is, the much-celebrated wolves of Yellowstone function basically like their pimps really, clearing out all the competition so they can work their magic.
Actually, given how terrified your nation is of reintroductions in general I wouldn’t compare beavers to wolves. I’d compare beavers to midwifes. Bringing biodiversity into this world over and over again.
Meanwhile in Germany people are panicking about beaver because a hunter was gored by a boar in the field, prompting the country to do a who’s who of the list of animals that can kill you in, I’m proud to say beaver was third on the list.
A wild boar on Sunday attacked and fatally wounded a German hunter as the man tried to shoot him, police said on Monday. The 50-year-old man was out with several other hunters near the northeastern town of Greifswald — 120 miles (190 km) north of Berlin — when he was killed by the male boar.
10 wild animals that call Berlin home