UK: Escaped Beaver terrorizes Cornwall in search for mate

A hunt is under way for an escaped beaver that has left a trail of
felled trees during its search for a mate. It is described as docile
and “family-orientated” despite being able to fell trees with its
sharp teeth. The beaver weighs 40kg – about six stones, and was
brought to the UK five years ago from Bavaria, in Germany. He lives on
a vegetarian diet of reeds, bark and leaves and seldom strays less
than 50 metres from water. Beavers were hunted to extinction in
England hundreds of years ago but this creature has gone on the run
from a farm in the west country.

Conservationist Derek Gow, the owner
of the unnamed beaver, said: “It is one of those things that happen.
“It’s not anything that anyone intended to happen. It’s not something
anyone wanted to happen, but it has happened,” he said. Mr Gow is a
keen advocate of reintroducing beavers into the English countryside
after they were hunted to extinction for their fur in the 13th
century. At Upcott Grange Farm at Lifton on the Devon and Cornwall
border, Mr Gow and his team keep 24 beavers under licence from the
Government agency Natural England. Some are in quarantine for six
months before being released in Scotland as part of a Scottish
Government approved programme. But the escapee is one of the beavers
that Mr Gow was going to use as a star of a wildlife photography and
film business on his 120 acre farm. Three beavers initially broke out
during a couple of rain lashed weeks in October. The Upcott Grange
beavers live in a vast pen that includes a pond, woodland and small
river. As the water rose Mr Gow suspects the electric fence shorted
allowing the beavers to make their bid for freedom. He said two
females did not get very far but the male has managed to make its way
to Gunnislake in Cornwall – 20 miles away. Mr Gow said: “I know where
he is but he’s occupying a territory of probably a kilometre in
length.” He now intends to plant of number of honeytraps – boxes that
have been scented with a female beaver’s fragrance.

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Comments (1)

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