The Cumbria Beaver Project: Reintroducing Nature's Engineers

The Cumbria Beaver Group, comprised of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Lowther Estates, and Eden Rivers Trust, in consultation with key stakeholders including Natural England, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Forestry England, the University of Cumbria, and others, is spearheading a significant initiative: the planned and managed reintroduction of beavers to Cumbria.

Once native to Britain, beavers vanished from our landscapes in the 16th century, primarily due to overhunting. However, these remarkable creatures are not only vegetarian but also offer a multitude of environmental and socio-economic benefits. From flood risk mitigation and enhanced water quality to the creation of vital habitats for other wildlife and boosting local economies through nature-based tourism, beavers can profoundly impact our ecosystems.

The Enclosed Scientific Release Trials - In January 2020, a milestone was achieved with the approval of a licence for enclosed scientific release trials at Lowther Estate. This crucial step ensures that the reintroduced beavers remain within a controlled environment, preventing their spread into the wider countryside. The Cumbria Beaver Group emphasises the importance of a meticulously planned and managed approach, underscored by community engagement and advocacy.

The Journey So Far - Glen (male) and Dragonfly (female), a pair of Eurasian beavers, were introduced to the Lowther Estate in the summer of 2020 under this licensed, enclosed scientific release. Regular updates on their progress and the project's developments can be found via @CumbriaBeavers on Twitter or by reaching out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Looking Ahead - Excitingly, a second licence has been granted for a private site in South Cumbria in 2020, indicating the project's momentum and the growing interest in beaver reintroduction. Feasibility studies are also underway for potential sites across the county, marking a significant step towards the long-term goal of seeing beavers thrive once again in Cumbria.

Join the Conversation - The Cumbria Beaver Group invites you to be part of this extraordinary journey. Stay updated, and together, let's pave the way for the return of these magnificent ecosystem engineers to our cherished landscapes. 

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Monday, 15 July 2024