Beavers get the appliance of science
PUBLISHED: 16:10 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 16 March 2019
There is no shortage of technology being used to record the activities of a pair of beavers that were released into the north Essex countryside this week.
The rodents are part of an exciting rewilding and natural flood management project in Finchingfield.
It is hoped the beavers’ natural instinct to build dams will help slow water flows into the village, which floods on a regular basis.
Because this is a pioneering scheme, a lot of evidence is being gathered and the rodents’ activities documented.
Wildlife filmmaker Russell Savory, who intends to visit the site on a regular basis, said he has four cameras at his disposal including a thermal imaging device to capture the beavers’ nocturnal comings and goings.
“I’ve been tasked with getting footage of a beaver felling a tree at night,” he said.
More digital equipment is being used to record the water flows on the stream where the beavers are living and on Finchingfield Brook where the man-made leaky dam has been constructed to compare with the beavers’ efforts.
Solar powered monitors will record water levels, the velocity of the water and the saturation levels of surrounding ground, and the data sent to researchers at Kings College in London, who are partners in the project.
Water quality testing will also take place at regular intervals.
“The team at Kings College have joked that this must be the most heavily monitored stretch of river in the country,” said estate manager Archie Ruggles-Brise.
In addition, aerial footage has been taken of the site, so the changes in the landscape can be recorded as the beavers set to felling trees and building dams.
Meanwhile, armchair wildlife fans can enjoy views of the beavers from the comfort of their home via a time-lapse video feed on the Spains Hall Estate website - go to www.spainshallestate.co.uk and follow the links.