Beaver Rashford has been busy doing crucial work to help revive some of Britain’s deteriorating wetlands | UK News

A climate change prevention beaver named Rashford is celebrating his first birthday – and a year of repairing degraded wetlands.

Rashford, a descendant of Yogi and Grylls, was the first beaver born on Exmoor since Tudor’s reign 400 years ago.

The creatures are hailed as a means of combating the climate crisis because their dams help restore dry and degraded wetlands, providing fresh habitat for other native species.

Healthy wetlands can also help reduce the effects of floods and droughts, both of which are predicted to become more frequent with climate change.

Beavers were hunted for extinction in the British Isles in the 16th century, but are slowly being reintroduced.

Yogi and Grylls were paired by the National Trust in 2020 after the charity received its first license to release Eurasian beavers on their land.

They were released in a 2.7-acre enclosure on the Holnicote property in Somerset in January 2020, and Rashford – named after a social media poll – was born 18 months later.

To mark the occasion, the charity has released new photos and footage from a static camera showing the Rashford dam and moving mud with its father Yogi.

The staff at Holnicote have already registered a dramatic change in the water level of the previously deforested forest area, as well as a change in vegetation and light.

An aerial photo of the habitat changes on the Holnicote property

Ben Eardley, project manager for the National Trust at Holnicote, said: “The many dam complexes created by Rashford, Grylls and Yogi over the last two years have helped slow the flow of water through the catchment area, creating dams and new canals to keep more water in the landscape.

‘We hope Rashford becomes the first of many’

The resulting aquatic habitat creates opportunities for a wide variety of wildlife to flourish, including fish, amphibians, reptiles such as grass snakes, bats, insects and birds such as sparrows, gray wagtails, marsh hens and kingfishers.

“Odders are regular visitors to the site, as the wetland offers ideal habitats for them to hunt.”

Sir. Eardley continued: “In addition to holding back the water, the beavers also help us manage the forest naturally by removing bark from non-native conifers to create dead wood habitats and encourage natural reforestation.

“This process opens up the canopy, promotes regrowth and creates better habitats for a wide variety of species.”

Sir. Eardley added: “We hope Rashford will be the first of many sets to be born at Holnicote, and early signs suggest more sets may be on the way later this spring.”

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