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Beavers to return to the Forest of Dean
Beavers were driven to extinction in England 400 years ago.

Proposal granted full licence by Natural England

The government has backed plans to release beavers into the Forest of Dean.

The project will see four beavers - two adults and two kits - released into a 6.5-acre hectare secure enclosure. It is hoped the beavers may be able to improve biodiversity and build dams and ponds.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “The beaver has a special place in English heritage and the Forest of Dean proposal is a fantastic opportunity to help bring this iconic species back to the countryside 400 years after it was driven to extinction.”

Kevin Stannard, Forestry Commission deputy surveyor for the Forest of Dean, added: “We will continue our detailed planning including designing a robust fence to keep the beaver enclosed; securing healthy, disease-free beaver and collecting data from the monitoring of the water flow in the brook. We will continue to give updates as the project develops.”

Scientists believe the beavers may be able to hold back enough water to help with flood alleviation
by quickly constructing natural dam structures and creating new habitat.

The proposal has been granted full licence approval by Natural England, who will consider further applications for possible trial releases on a case by case basis, in line with new guidance.

Beavers were driven to extinction in England 400 years ago and were reintroduced in Devon in 2015 for a trial. The beavers will be released into the Forest of Dean in spring 2018.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.