Today, the largest terrestrial carnivore in the United Kingdom is a badger. Aside from the fact that I love badgers, wouldn't it be great to have a little more diversity in our landscapes?
Scotland is one of the wildest places in the UK, with mountains, lochs and woodland extending out for miles. It is where the first beaver reintroduction trial sites were established in the UK; where pine martens roam and osprey soar through the skies. Experiencing these areas allows you to believe that Lynx, elk and wolves could be reintroduced to these areas more successfully than in southern England, for example.
After the wettest winter on record and widespread flooding across the UK, Alastair Driver (the National Biodiversity Manager of the Environment Agency) took to twitter to highlight the efforts into Natural Flood Management research across the UK. Some of the facts tweeted include -
Beavers often get bad press for being the cause of flooding, and this is one of the key factors affecting the decision of whether to reintroduce beavers to Britain’s waterways. Heavy rain has caused flooding in Alyth Burn in Scotland, and many theories have linked this flooding to the presence of beavers in the area.
A “one in 200 year flood” occurred this summer and this caused extensive flash flooding within the village of Alyth, leaving homes without power.
Earlier this year Natural England approved a licence to allow a family of beavers which had been living along the River Otter in Devon to remain in the wild (click here for more information). Issued to Devon Wildlife Trust who are responsible for managing the beavers this five year licence was subject to a number of conditions. A key condition was that the beavers on site are tested to confirm that they are European beavers and are free from parasites.
Rewilding is an increasingly popular concept which involves restoring large areas back to their natural state, and the reintroduction of species that have recently been extinct. This ranges from the reintroduction of bison, big cats and bears into Europe, as well as smaller reintroductions such as the recent reintroduction of beavers in the UK.