Beavers officially become a protected species in England

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And a clear policy by the Government will help it meet its environmental goals. Today, beavers officially become a protected species.

The semi-aquatic mammals were hunted to extinction in Britain in the 16th century, and were only reintroduced in 2015.

Originally highly prized for their fur, meat and scent glands, which were used in perfume, the rodents are now seen as vital in the fight against biodiversity loss.

There is a growing body of evidence from reintroduction sites that beaver dams slow the passage of water through landscapes, cutting flood risk downstream and also conserving water in times of drought.

The new wetlands they create can become havens for other wildlife.

The Wildlife Trusts and the Beaver Trust are calling on Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena to ensure the Government leads the way on their reintroduction.

They say beavers can help Government meet its targets under its 25 Year Environment Plan.

Sandra King, of the Beaver Trust, said it was urgent “the Government delivers a clear, ambitious policy and licensing guidance to support beaver restoration in the wild”.

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