Death of a wild beaver confirmed

Thursday 5th April 2018

Beaver on riverbankPhoto, David White

The death of one of East Devon’s wild beaver population has been announced by the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The body of an adult female beaver was found recently near Langford Bridge, close to the River Otter in East Devon. The beaver was discovered on a roadside embankment by an anonymous member of the public who reported the discovery to the charity. The beaver had been run over by traffic.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey said:

“It’s sad news. Beavers like to stick to water or close to water, but they will cross land and roads within their territories. Recent heavy rains and high river levels may have meant that this beaver chose a land route rather than battle against the force of the river. Like all wildlife, beavers are vulnerable when they cross our roads. We wish to thank the anonymous finder because it’s very important to us that people tell us about their beaver sightings.”

Devon Wildlife Trust is leading the River Otter Beaver Trial, a five year study into the impacts of what is believed to be the first wild breeding population of beavers to live in England for 400 years. Partners in the project include Clinton Devon Estates, University of Exeter and the Derek Gow Consultancy.

The dead beaver was taken by Devon Wildlife Trust for autopsy where it was discovered she was a four year old in good condition. Steve Hussey said:

“The autopsy revealed that the beaver was an individual that we had caught and tagged when she was a youngster near Ottery St Mary in 2015. She was in good health and weighed just over 21kg. Beavers in the wild can expect to live to around 12-14 years of age, so this individual was still young. However, her health and good condition is a positive sign for the wider population of East Devon beavers.”

The beaver population on the River Otter is estimated to be around 25-30 animals. The beavers have proved popular with visitors and local people alike, with one family group near the village of Otterton drawing hundreds of people trying to see them over the past two summers.

It’s possible to view video of Devon’s wild beavers at the Devon Wildlife Trust website.

A decision on the long term future of Devon’s wild beavers will be made by Government at the end of the River Otter Beaver Trial in 2020.

You can offer your support to Devon's wild beavers here.

Tagged with: Species, Beaver, Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust, River Otter, Run over, Wildlife