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After more than 400 years, beavers have been brought back to London to aid in the restoration of nature and river habitat, as well as to reduce flood risks.

The species was wiped out in Britain in the 16th century due to fur, gland, and meat hunting.

Beavers considered natural engineers, slow and filter water in the landscape through dam-building and tree felling, which attracts other wildlife and mitigates flooding downstream.

The reintroduction is part of a two-year plan to tackle climate change.

The initiative is part of a rewilding program led by the local community and conservation groups to demonstrate the benefits that beavers can have on people and nature.

A male and female beaver, both aged two, were released into an enclosure on the grounds of Enfield’s Forty Hall Farm last year.

Paradise Fields, a 10-hectare area of woodland and wetlands in urban Greenford in the north of the London Borough of Ealing, has been chosen for this new project. The site underwent feasibility studies and a license application to Natural England which was supported by the Beaver Trust.

The beavers are expected to arrive from Tayside, Scotland, this autumn and the site will be open to the public for “safaris”. The project is funded by Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund, operates in partnership with the Mayor of London and the London Wildlife Trust, and aims to prevent flooding downstream around Greenford Station and the surrounding streets.

Beavers are considered “ecosystem engineers” and can help prevent flooding by slowing water flow in times of high rainfall and mitigate drought by holding more water on the land. This reintroduction is considered to be the first truly urban reintroduction in London.

Beavers are now found living in the wild on various UK rivers through official trials, unauthorized releases, or escapes, and have also been introduced into enclosures across several counties. Conservationists await a government decision on permitting releases into the wild under specific criteria.

Read more > Beavers are being reintroduced to LONDON

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