River Otter Beaver Trial appeal

Beaver kit swimming along River Otter Beaver kit close up © Nick Upton/ Nature PL

DWT leads England’s only wild beaver re-introduction project – but the beavers need your help

Beavers are back!

Support the project

The River Otter Beaver Trial is England’s first wild beaver re-introduction project - a landmark for nature conservation in England. So often, wildlife stories are about the loss of species: this is an example of an animal that has been brought back.

Beaver on the banks of the River Otter © Nick Upton/ Nature PLWhen the government made plans to remove the family of beavers from the River Otter, local people and Devon Wildlife Trust opposed the plan. Instead, Devon Wildlife Trust persuaded the government to allow the beavers to stay, following detailed health screening – and in 2015 DWT began a five-year trial to study the effects of beavers in the wild. We hope the River Otter Beaver Trial will demonstrate that beavers and people can share this landscape for mutual benefit.

DWT backs beavers because they are a keystone species. Evidence from our securely-fenced beaver site in West Devon shows beaver activity increases biodiversity, improves water quality and stores rainwater to reduce flooding.

But the River Otter Beaver Trial receives no government or council funding – the only support the beavers receive is from individuals and private organisations that want to see these amazing animals back in our countryside.

Natural England has stated that future decisions on the release of beavers in England will in large part be informed by the results of this trial. If you back the return of the beaver, here's one way you can help today!

What is the project doing?

DWT will be monitoring the effects of beaver activity on the river: what impacts are the beavers having on a landscape of farms and villages? How can we measure the effects the beavers have on the wildlife of the River Otter? How does their activity affect woodlands and vegetation? We will also need to gather evidence on the beavers’ effects on water flow and water quality, as well as their impact on migratory fish. This project will also involve the local community: how well can beavers and people 'get on' in the long term?

Support the project



Adopt a Beaver

Support Devon's beavers with a unique gift: Adopt a Beaver for £30 (plus postage&packing).

Every Adopt-a-Beaver pack includes this uniquely designed beaver soft toy (19cm high). Modelled on Nora, the River Otter Beaver Trial mascot, she wears a Devon beavers T-shirt.

Each pack also contains a personalised adoption certificate.

Packs for adults include a beaver species profile, including information on the animals on the River Otter.

Children's packs include a beaver quiz, colouring sheet, wordsearch and maze.

Adopt a Beaver here