After 400 years of disappearance, beavers are making a comeback in London.
A breeding pair of Eurasian beavers will be introduced next autumn in the park open to the public at Paradise Fields in Ealing, west of the British capital.
This operation is part of a project to re-wild London launched by the mayor, Sadiq Khan, in December 2021.
The London municipality has contributed 45,000 euros to help reintroduce this species once present throughout Great Britain, according to the BBC.
These semi-aquatic rodents were "
to extinction in the 16th century for their fur, glands, and meat
In 2022, two beavers had already been released on a farm in Enfield, north London.
“Combating the impacts of climate change”
This project is the first of its kind in an urban setting in the UK
,” said the Ealing Wildlife Group.
According to the conservation group, urban rewilding allows
“the creation of healthier ecosystems
” and a “
coexistence between inhabitants and animals
By reintroducing them, these long-toothed animals, true engineers of the ecosystem, will naturally build dams and “
mitigate floods in urban watersheds
The long-term goal of this project is to release other species, such as “
threatened water voles
Read alsoEnvironment: tools to estimate your own carbon dioxide emissions
Beavers are a keystone species, manipulating habitat to create biodiversity-rich wetlands where many other species can thrive.
Their activities can help combat and adapt to the impacts of climate change through carbon capture and mitigate drought by retaining more water on land
,” explained Sean McCormack, veterinarian and chairman of the Ealing Wildlife Group. .
According to a study by researchers from the University of Exeter, the reintroduction of beavers in 2013 in the River Otter, in the south of England, reduced the risk of flooding in small towns around it.
Faced with "
a twin climate and ecological emergency
", Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to
"ensure that London is at the forefront of efforts to reverse the trends of biodiversity decline and the destruction of nature”
For this, the city councilor announced a project to re-wild London in December 2021. A working group made up of fourteen experts was commissioned and recently published a full report in March 2023. This document establishes a list of "
” to bring wildlife back to the capital.