After funding a successful Beaver Habitat Suitability Study on the Isle of Wight, plans and preparations are now being put into place to enable the next steps for reintroducing beavers.
There’s lots of work to do in the background before an application can even be made. This includes extensive stakeholder, landowner and community engagement across the island as well as conducting baseline ecological surveys to assess plant diversity, birds, amphibians and macroinvertebrates. These surveys of the reserves enable monitoring the impacts that beavers have on biodiversity once they’re released.
In addition to the work needed before a licence to release beavers can be obtained and making the application itself, there’s a lot of work being done at a national level. As of October 1st 2022 it’s now illegal to hunt beavers and they’ll be a protected species. Natural England is also in the process of developing a national beaver management strategy which includes guidance, licence requirements and advice sources.
Whilst these strategies are being developed, no licence applications are being accepted. However our friends at HIWWT are working closely with Natural England to inform this document and to help secure a successful outcome for an approved licence, with an intended beaver release in spring 2024.
We’re very excited about progress towards a potential beaver release, the change in legislation and the work being carried out towards ensuring beavers, other wildlife and farming communities can thrive together to mitigate any challenges and benefit from the rewards ‘ecosystem warriors’ bring.
For updates on the beaver introduction on the Isle of Wight and the conservation projects they’re working on click the blog section on their site and search ‘beavers’.