Once upon a time, London was teeming with all sorts of cute wildlife. Sadly, lots of it, including the lovable beaver, was hunted to extinction or was driven away by urban development. But in some very good news, for the first time in 400 years a baby beaver has been born in the capital. Awwwww.
British beavers were hunted to extinction in the 16th century, as they were wanted for their fur and meat by the rodent-loving Elizabethans. Now, Enfield Council has been beavering away on a scheme to reintroduce the dam-building critters back into the capital. 18 months after the initiative began, it has welcomed the UK’s first baby beaver in four centuries.
The sex of the newborn hasn’t been established yet, and it will soon get a comprehensive health check from Capel Manor College, a special environmental college, with advice from the Beaver Trust, and an experienced exotic animal vet.
As far as rodents go, beavers are some of the good ones. These semi-aquatic mammals are adorable, for starters, and they build handy dams that are excellent for natural flood management.
Rick Jewell, Enfield council’s cabinet member for the environment, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The beavers’ hard work creating a natural wetland ecosystem will contribute to excellent flood defences, protecting the local area and hundreds of homes from flooding downstream to the south-east of the borough, while encouraging biodiversity.’
In the future, members of the public will be able to go on ‘beaver safaris’ to see the animals as they gnaw away at branches in a 10-acre area of parkland in Ealing, west London.