The nation’s forests, car parks and essential facilities are open to you for local outdoor recreation and exercise - read our coronavirus guidance.

Dam cute! Bouncing baby beaver born in Yorkshire

Forestry England’s beavers in Cropton Forest have become parents, giving birth to two adorable kits. Video captured at the beaver site in Yorkshire shows the kits already swimming and settling into their new home with their mum.

Beavers are born precocial, meaning they are a miniature version of adults, seeing well and moving independently from birth.

Cath Bashforth, Ecologist, Yorkshire Forest District, Forestry England said:

“We are all very happy to see the arrival of two healthy kits. With beaver being very social animals, the family unit will live together.

“It is fascinating to watch them explore their surroundings and they are quickly learning from their parents.  I’m really looking forward to watching them grow and bond as a family’

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) licensed the original beaver pair to be moved from Scotland to Cropton Forest earlier this year for a revolutionary trial in natural flood management. Spanning five years the trial will assess will the impact of the beavers’ activity on the long-term sustainability and maintenance of the “slowing the flow” artificial wooden dams.

Ben Ross, SNH’s Beaver Project Manager, commented:

“We were delighted to hear the news about this beaver family’s new additions. We almost lost the beaver, an important ‘ecosystem engineer’ completely – there were only a few isolated and scattered pockets left in Europe by 1900. But their conservation has been a great success: there are now well over half a million in Europe and their numbers continue to increase – including in Scotland – and now in England!”

Forestry England expect that the beavers’ activity in Cropton Forest will improve biodiversity in their new 10-hectare home and may have the potential to reduce the impact of flooding locally. Monitoring will continue on site throughout the five-year project to assess these ecosystem benefits.

For more information visit: https://www.forestryengland.uk/blog/beaver-trial-cropton-forest. Video footage can be downloaded here – please credit Forestry England

Notes to Editor

1. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.

2. The Eurasian Beaver is a large semi-aquatic native mammal that was once widespread throughout Britain. They were hunted to extinction by the beginning of the 16th Century for their meat, fur and scent glands.

Beavers are a ‘keystone species’ - playing an important role in wetland ecology by creating ecosystems that provide habitats for many other plant, insect and mammal species. Few other animals, aside from humans, have the ability to so drastically modify and shape their surrounding environment. For this reason beavers are often referred to as “ecosystem engineers”.

3. Funding for the Yorkshire project was secured in part by grants from Forest Holidays, North York Moors National Park, and North Yorkshire County Council with support from Naturespy, Flamingo Land Zoo, The Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Derwent Catchment Partnership. 

4. Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot

5. Media Contact:
Stuart Burgess, Media Relations Manager
e: stuart.burgess@forestryengland.uk t: 0300 067 4073