Beavers in London

Beavers in London Francesco Ungaro (Unsplash)

A breeding pair of Eurasian beavers are set to return to west London's Paradise Fields, Ealing, marking the first time in 400 years that beavers will inhabit the area. The conservation groups behind the project received £40,000 from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to create a publicly accessible reintroduction site. This initiative, which is part of the urban rewilding project, aims to challenge perceptions and demonstrate how beavers can be managed in an urban setting while monitoring the flood mitigation effects. 


The project is viewed as an important step in rewilding efforts as wild beaver populations in Kent and Oxfordshire move closer to London. The wetland will provide an opportunity to study how beavers interact with an urban river catchment and with urban communities. The chair of the Ealing Wildlife Group, Dr Sean McCormack, hopes that the project will encourage people to remember how close they once lived alongside these ecosystem engineers.


The Rewild London Fund has supported 22 projects across the capital, including this beaver reintroduction initiative. Khan stated that he is committed to reversing the trends of declining biodiversity and the destruction of nature and that rewilding is an exciting way to create healthier ecosystems and allow humans and wildlife to live together more harmoniously.


Beavers have hunted to extinction in Britain 400 years ago for their fur, glands and meat. However, they have begun to reappear in the country through government-licensed beaver releases within enclosures, as well as illegal releases. In 2022, beavers were given legal protection in England, as they are now recognised as native wildlife. Environmentalists hope that the upcoming beaver strategy will pave the way for these animals to be released to roam wild.


The Guardian