A new Beaver Trust documentary film is being launched this weekend to raise awareness for the British beaver and the fragile future they face without more public and government support.
The charity’s short film, Beavers Without Borders, explores the benefits and challenges of reintroducing beavers to Britain’s landscapes, four hundred years after they were hunted to extinction for their meat, oil and fur. It hopes the documentary – which premieres live on YouTube this Sunday 15th November – will promote discussion and help ensure a better future for the endangered species.
“It’s a critical time for beavers, with the UK Government deciding on their future in England, and calls for the Scottish Government to allow their relocation in Scotland. We hope our film evokes the buzz of life in beaver wetlands, inspires people to welcome beavers back, and helps nurture a reconnection between people and the rest of nature,” explains James Wallace, Beaver Trust’s Chief Executive.
Beavers Without Borders follows science communicator Sophie Pavelle on a journey around Britain’s beaver reintroduction sites – hearing from farmers, anglers, scientists and conservationists about the issues, the importance of community support, and how we might learn to live alongside beavers again.
It highlights how beavers are superb ecosystem engineers, with their small dams creating nature-rich wetlands that support wildlife, absorb carbon dioxide, reduce flooding, and improve water quality. But the animals can have localised impacts on agricultural land too.
Although the Scottish Government last year declared Scotland’s beavers a protected species it still doesn’t allow relocations within Scotland.
This summer, the UK Government decided that England’s first breeding wild beavers for 400 years could remain in Devon. Elsewhere in England, beavers are being introduced in enclosed areas – but the Government has yet to recognise beavers as native, or provide a licensing and management system allowing beaver releases in the wild.
Beaver Trust says the Government’s national strategy and funding to protect and manage wild beavers should be informed by the lessons learnt by people involved in or affected by reintroductions.
Those sharing their experiences and expertise in the Beavers Without Borders film include Devon-based farmer, ecologist and author Derek Gow – a key figure in UK beaver reintroductions.
“This wonderful film illustrates succinctly the critical importance of the beaver for nature recovery. Without the assistance of this creature’s fabled engineering skill sets, it is impossible to imagine a future where nature can begin to recover itself. By returning the beaver to Britain’s impoverished wetland environments, we are blessing them with the ability to heal themselves,” said Derek.
To register for the free YouTube premiere of Beavers Without Borders – showing this Sunday 15th November from 7 pm to 8 pm – visit https://bit.ly/366N2Zg. The film will be followed by a live question and answer session with Nina Constable and Sophie Pavelle.
To find out more about the work of Beaver Trust go to beavertrust.org.