Rivers Conservation Officer, Steve Oliver said, "We have been closely monitoring the pair since their release and it has been clear that they have formed a strong bond in the time they have been on site, and this latest discovery is further evidence of this, alongside their industrious dam building activity. The trail cams have only identified one kit so far, but beavers can typically have one to four kits in a litter, and we are discreetly observing their activity to see if any others have been born. Seeing the first kit is an incredibly exciting moment for the project and breeding is a clear indication of normal behaviour and that the adult pair are healthy and happily settled in their Dorset surroundings. This local project is an enormous step forward on the journey to restore beavers to Dorset, helping us to raise awareness and understanding of what it means to have these influential mammals back in our county. Beavers have the potential to make a huge difference to our natural environment and can assist nature's recovery as well as providing other benefits for humans.”
This landmark project for Dorset is hosted by Dorset Wildlife Trust working alongside lead partners, University of Exeter and Wessex Water to undertake a scientific study to assess all the impacts that beavers make on the natural environment including river flow, water quality and biodiversity. Since the beavers were introduced to site, they have built dams, creating a wetland to suit their needs but which also provides habitat for many other species, such as frogs and newts which depend on water.
Eurasian beavers Castor fiber were once native to Dorset and are known as nature's ecosystem engineers due to their activities, such as dam building to create deep water in which they feel safe, having such a positive impact on the local environment. Beavers even have the potential to reduce flooding by slowing the rate of water during extreme rainfall events. Once common in the UK, the 16th century saw Eurasian beavers hunted to extinction for their meat, fur, and castoreum, a secretion from their castor glands.