Wildlife ‘control’ could mean the beaver is lost from the English landscape before it gets re-established. Beaver expert Derek Gow mourns its likely passing.
As the beaver families on the River Otter snuggle together today in their cosy nests of shredded willow they cannot conceive that they are about to participate in a remarkable historic event.
At the beginning of the 21st century, in the time if the “greenest Government ever” their removal at the hand of Defra’s trappers will ensure that they become the first ever native English mammal to have been exterminated by humans twice.
I should have known better to be hopeful about the broadly-attended public meeting in Devon. I should have realized that the fact that DEFRA didn’t bother to be there spoke volumes. This article does an amazing job of targeting their asymmetrical illogic point by point and concludes that in this instance facts and public opinion and economics don’t matter.
Children and senior citizens, students and business men stood up at the end of the presentations to state their wish to see the beavers remain. Letters of support from farmers who could not attend were read out by councillors.
Many people cited their appeal as a tourist attraction, others pointed out the hypocrisy of our national position whereby we lecture others on the conservation of threatened species such as tigers or elephants while making no effort to restore our own depleted wildlife. At the end of the evening a show of hands was unanimous in its support for the retention of the beavers on the River Otter.
Defra did not attend the event. On the same day their field staff were collecting from Scotland the traps they require to remove the Devon beavers. To date despite considerable media attention, representations to senior civil servants and ministers, national petitions which have attracted over 30,000 signatures and the clear will of the local community they have made no effort to attain or consider a balanced approach on this issue.
Did you catch that? While the citizens of Devon were bravely assembled to talk about beaver benefits and problem-solving, bright-eyed children and craggy old farmers and gray haired dears all coming together to talk about making Devon a better place, DEFRA in their infinite badger-killing wisdom was getting ready the beaver traps. The deceptions of a certain Grinch spring to mind.And when Cindy Loo Hoo went to bed with her cup. He went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up.
This makes even a battle-scared rodeo clown like me feel sad and hopeless. It’s hard to believe that Devon could do everything right, the meeting, the science, the overseeing trust, the media, the farmers, the school children, the shop owners, and it doesn’t matter at all because DEFRA will do whatever the fuck it wants to do. No matter what.
Did mention this is depressing?