Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Leave our Beavers alone! Sign Petition

One of the Beavers happily minding its own business on the River Otter in April this year
Is DEFRA wasting public money on trying to re-capture a family of "wild" living Beavers on the River Otter in Devon?

Maybe? so it would seem:

George Eustice (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Camborne and Redruth, Conservative)
"We intend to recapture and rehome the wild beavers in Devon and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so. All decisions will be made with the welfare of the beavers in mind. There are no plans to cull beavers."

Up to three animals have been living on the River Otter for at least two years now without any known detrimental effect.
So what is the problem and
why the big fuss about them now, despite them having been living happily on the River Otter for at least 2 years?

Disease Risk? Lethal Tapeworm? - Negligible or Low
It has been suggested that a reason for the proposed removal of beavers from the River Otter is because of a "lethal tapeworm"
Echinococcus Multilocularis (EM) which beavers "can" carry?
This parasite is clearly fairly nasty but according to the DEFRA a beaver infected with EM : "can only transmit the infection directly to other beavers, wildlife or the environment through a definitive host (dog or fox) scavenging the infected beaver’s organs."

As such the
report clearly states the risk from the parasite as being either neglible OR low but uncertain dependent on the origin of the beavers.
Worth noting DEFRA's definitions of risk are:

Negligible = So rare that it does not merit to be considered
Low = Rare but does occur

Origin of River Otter Beavers?
Obviously, the beavers origin are unknown, but let's be honest, the chances of them having escaped from somewhere fairly local to Ottery St Mary would seem reasonable, as this is where the animals were first reported.....
Escot House, is a privately owned 19th Century home based in Ottery St Mary which do have a captive collection of beavers. They were imported from Bavaria, but Escot have apparently not had any animals escape.
Even if they had escaped from Escot, according to the DEFRA report: "A beaver imported from Bavaria (or other endemic area) poses a low risk of being infected with associated uncertainty"

Surely there is a better solution to all this than taking the seemingly brash approach and permanently removing the beavers from the River Otter because of a low disease risk?

If the risk to human health is more of a concern than I interpret it and it is essential they are captured then get the animals tested. Assuming they are free from the parasite, then allow a licenced legal release back to the River Otter.
But don't just put them in a zoo and make that the end of it.

This is a great opportunity locally to use the River Otter as an English Beaver study trial site.....

Good article from the Ecologist HERE

Sign petition to at least show your support for the Beavers in the wild and help stop the beaver's permanent removal HERE or HERE

Full DEFRA report can be seen HERE


"The risk of E. Multilocularis being imported and introduced in to a definitive host species (e.g. fox or dog) via beavers is dependent upon the probability an infected beaver is selected for import, it survives quarantine, it dies in a location accessible to a host species and is scavenged by a host species resulting in infection. Beavers infected with
E. Multilocularis cannot transmit the infection directly to other beavers, wildlife or the environment.
Onward transmission can only occur by a definitive host (dog or fox) scavenging the infected beaver’s organs.

Historically, beavers have been imported from two main areas namely, those from endemic E. multilocularis countries (e.g. Bavaria, Germany) and those from free countries (e.g. Norway). For imports from E. multilocularis free countries, the risk of importing infected beavers and infection being established in indigenous UK wildlife is considered negligible.

For beavers imported from endemic areas, the risk of being infected and resulting in the establishment of E. Multilocularis in wildlife is considered low but is uncertain due to the factors involved (e.g. beaver escaping, a fox scavenging an infected dead beaver, infection established in intermediate host species).
The consequences of E. Multilocularis being introduced into the definitive species (e.g. foxes) in the UK include disease establishment, loss of disease free status and therefore an increased risk for the human population being exposed to the parasite. To minimize the risk of E. multilocularis being introduced and establishing within UK wildlife, the only suitable risk mitigation measure would therefore be to source beavers from UK captive bred populations or from countries which are currently free of E.multilocularis"


  1. You are right mate - they have 2/10's of fuck all better to do. That's when they are not ignoring the advice of respected scientific advisors with regard to the Badge cull - in our name with our money.....I would'nt pay them in washers!

    There's certainly some mileage in the campaign slogan ;-)

    Laurie -

  2. There is a risk, however small, that the beavers could prove to be the source of a ‘new’ pathogen. Why not start a petition asking DEFRA to trap the beavers, test them and, if disease free, release them again.

    Of course, any need for trapping could be avoided if the original ‘releasers’ came forward with proof that the animals underwent a rigorous quarantine process and were inspected by a suitably qualified vet before release. Presumably this was done, I mean you would have to be a monumentally ignorant twat to release (or allow to escape) anything without regard to the health of pre-existing wildlife.

  3. PS. I definitely deserve a prize for not incorporating a diseased beaver joke in that last comment. Let's face it, the opportunity was just lying there, wide open, it would have been so easy just to slot one in. But I didn't. And I feel good about that. Well. Done. Me.