Beavers thriving in new home on Wallington Estate in Northumberland

27th November 2023

A short film has been released by Beaver Trust and Five Sisters Zoo telling the behind the scenes story of a beaver kit’s birth at the Zoo and successful release at National Trust’s Wallington Estate, highlighting the work of those involved who went above and beyond to make it happen.

We supported the reintroduction of beavers at Wallington in July this year a family of four Eurasian beavers were successfully released on the National Trust’s Wallington Estate in Northumberland as part of plans to boost wildlife and increase the landscape’s resilience to a changing climate.

It was reported that two adult beavers and two young had been successfully relocated from wild populations in the River Tay catchment in Scotland to their new home in a 24-hectare fenced enclosure on a tributary of the River Wansbeck. The adult female was, in fact, found to be pregnant when she was trapped in Scotland and taken into Beaver Trust’s holding facilities at Five Sisters Zoo.

What followed was a series of careful health checks, sensitive care, and detailed monitoring to ensure the female and her family were calm and comfortable to give the unborn beaver kit the best chance. The team worked to create a bespoke habitat at Five Sisters Zoo, where the beaver family would have plenty of space and enrichment while awaiting the birth of the kit.

With the kit looking strong and healthy, the family were transported down to Northumberland where they were released on July 12th. Footage from the estate shows that the beavers are settling in well and already beginning to transform their surroundings as hoped.

© National Trust Images.

Anne Reece, chair of Reece Foundation, said: “We are delighted to hear that after an absence of beavers for 400 years the new family are thriving and beginning to bring benefits to the fantastic countryside, adding new habitats and remoulding the landscape to the benefit of many species as well as providing delight to visitors.”

Paul Hewitt, Countryside Manager at the National Trust, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the teams at the Beaver Trust and Five Sisters Zoo who took such great care of the whole beaver family while we waited for their release here at Wallington. The news that the kit was born safe and well was wonderful and made the anticipation of release day even more special. They’ve been here for 4 months now and are all happy and healthy, having settled in brilliantly. They’re already making changes to the landscape and we’re really looking forward to seeing what they do over the coming months and years.”

The Wallington Estate was the location for the conservation charity’s third beaver release, following successful introductions on Exmoor in 2020 and the South Downs in 2021. The release was the first to take place in Northumberland, with the animals becoming one of the very few beaver populations in northern England.

The beavers form part of a bigger project called Wilder Wallington that is designed to improve prospects for nature across the 5,300-hectare estate and beyond. Other plans include encouraging the migration of pine martens, restoring hedgerows and areas of peatland, planting trees, tackling invasive non-native species, supporting farmers to incorporate nature into their business plans and alleviating flooding. 

The Beaver Trust have created a video of the animals’ introduction to Northumberland which can be viewed online on Beaver Trust’s YouTube Channel and at The Wallington Estate’s visitor centre and cafe.

Featured image thanks to ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

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