Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber)
Hi, My name is Emily and I am the new volunteer for the walk this waterway survey for the Mammal Society.
For my first post, I have decided to focus on one of my personal favourite mammals found on some waterways in the UK – the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber). One of the many reasons that they are so special is their role as a keystone species within their environment. This means that they have a disproportionately big effect on the function and structure of their ecosystem when compared with their relative abundance. They have this effect by modifying their habitats in their forest and riparian homes. This modification is achieved through coppicing, damming and feeding, which leads to positive effects for other wildlife.
Numbers are now starting to increase after the Eurasian beaver became extinct due to unsustainable hunting for its pelt, meat and the medicinal properties of castoreum. The beaver now has protection from the EC Habitats Directive and the Species Action Framework for conservation of the species.
There have been successful reintroductions of the beaver to Scotland and some areas of England such as on the River Otter in Devon. There are now believed to be roughly 168 individuals.
You can help us to monitor Eurasian beavers by downloading the Mammal Mapper App and participating in our latest project “Walk This Water Way”. In order to participate all you have to do is walk at least 600m of waterway and record your sightings in the app. You’ll need to enter the Survey ID as WTWW.