A beaver under the Christmas tree

Tuesday 21st November 2017

Soft toy beaverSoft toy included with Adopt a Beaver pack

Wildlife lovers have the chance to take home a Devon beaver this Christmas.

Devon Wildlife Trust leads England’s only wild beaver re-introduction project, on east Devon’s River Otter.

The project receives no government funding, relying on donations from people who care about wildlife and are enthusiastic about Devon’s wild beavers.
This month, the charity has launched the Adopt-a-Beaver scheme to help raise funds for the River Otter Beaver Trial.

The five year trial is scheduled to run until 2020, working to gather evidence on the beavers’ impacts on the landscape and wildlife, infrastructure and farm businesses in the Otter valley. Introduction of further beavers into the river system is also covered by the project licence from Natural England.

Each virtual adoption includes a soft toy beaver wearing a Devon Wildlife Trust ‘Beavers are Back’ T-shirt.

The charity’s Dan Smith explains: “The beaver soft toy is modelled on the project mascot, Nora, whose name was chosen in a public competition by a shop-owner in Sidmouth. These beaver soft toys are unique to Devon Wildlife Trust and the River Otter Beaver Trial and are not available anywhere else.”

Adopt-a-Beaver packs are available for children and adults for £30. All packs include the unique-to-Devon beaver soft toy but children’s packs also feature a beaver quiz, wordsearch, maze and colouring sheet.

For an additional £10, the pack also includes a beaver wood chip, gnawed from a Devon tree by one of the beavers living in the county. These wood chips - which come with a card of authenticity in a presentation box - have been collected from a site where Devon beavers are active.

These unique Devon gifts support what Chris Packham has described as “one of the most exciting conservation projects of the 21st century”, the River Otter Beaver Trial.

DWT’s Dan Smith said: “It’s heartening to see the continued enthusiasm for Devon’s beavers, more than two years after DWT first re-introduced beavers back on to the river after their health screening. Again this year, dozens of wildlife watchers gathered on the River Otter’s footpaths on summer evenings to spot parent beavers swimming with their new-born kits. Adopt-a-Beaver packs and Devon beaver wood chips are the ideal gifts for anyone who wants to see these charismatic mammals thriving in our countryside.”

Beaver gifts are available from www.devonwildlifetrust.org/support-devon-beavers or by calling 01392 279244 or calling in to DWT’s headquarters at Cricklepit Mill in Exeter, on a weekday.

The River Otter Beaver Trial is led by Devon Wildlife Trust working in partnership with The University of Exeter, the Derek Gow Consultancy, and Clinton Devon Estates. Expert independent advice is also provided by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Professor John Gurnell, and Gerhard Schwab, an international beaver expert based in Bavaria.