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Beavers providing natural flood barriers give birth to two healthy kits

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:59 02 July 2020

Two beavers, introduced into north Essex in 2019 have given birth to two healthy kits. Picture: RUSSELL SAVORY

Two beavers, introduced into north Essex in 2019 have given birth to two healthy kits. Picture: RUSSELL SAVORY

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A pair of beavers which were introduced to north Essex as part of a natural flood defence scheme have had two healthy kits bolstering their “work force”.

Two beavers, introduced into north Essex in 2019 have given birth to two healthy kits. Picture: RUSSELL SAVORYTwo beavers, introduced into north Essex in 2019 have given birth to two healthy kits. Picture: RUSSELL SAVORY

In 2019, a pair of Eurasian Beavers were welcomed back to the county for the first time in 400 years to help reduce flood risk in Finchingfield.

The parents, recently named Woody and Willow, have been working relentlessly over the last year in their enclosure on the historic Spains Hall Estate.

They have been building dams to reduce flood risk to the village and creating wetlands which release water during drier periods.

Their work is complemented by a human-made natural flood management scheme on a second strand of Finchingfield Brook, which features a “leaky dam” approach.

This consists of securing tree branches or trunks across a watercourse, which helps slow the flow after heavy rain.

Spains Hall Estate Manager Archie Ruggles-Brise said he was excited to see how much more protection the new additions to the beaver family will bring.

He said: “We are delighted that our beavers have settled in so well that they have bred successfully.

“We always hoped that their woodland home would provide the right habitat to support a family, and the arrival of two kits is fantastic news.

“If they are anything like their parents the two kits will become phenomenal dam builders, and we will be watching closely as they expand the wetland and provide even more protection against flood and drought, and provide homes for loads of other wildlife.

“We are fortunate to have wildlife photographer, Russell Savory, keeping a close eye on the family, and providing everyone with such inspiring insights into their watery world.”

The pioneering partnership project with the Environment Agency, Spains Hall Estate, the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust, Essex Wildlife Trust, and the Anglian Eastern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) has been a big success - and now there are four extra paws to help them continue their vital flood defence work.

The Environment Agency’s Matt Butcher said: “The news of the beaver kits has just taken things to another level, and it will be incredible to see what the new members of the family will do in the coming months and years.”

Brendan Joyce, Director of Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, said: “It will be fascinating to see what effect the new additions to the family will have on shaping the landscape and creating natural features to reduce flooding”


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