‘Don’t scare off our rare beaver’

17:37 29 January 2014

Still image from the footage. Credit: Tom Buckley

Still image from the footage. Credit: Tom Buckley

Archant

‘Beaver fever’ descended on Ottery St Mary last week prompting fears that the national interest in Britain’s only wild example could lead to it being scared away.

Rare footage of the animal gnawing a tree on the banks of the River Otter attracted nationwide media coverage, with the story appearing across national newspapers, television news and radio programmes.

And although the man responsible for the find described it as ‘unbelievable’, he expressed concern the animal could move on if the area is suddenly overwhelmed with people hoping to see it.

The images were captured by environmental scientist and Ottery resident Tom Buckley, who became curious after he saw damaged trees by the river in autumn last year.

Tom used a motion activated camera to set about identifying the source of damage.

Beaver Facts

- They can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes.

- They are herbivores, and feed on trees and tree bark with particular favourites being birch, cherry and maple.

- Their sharp teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime.

- Female beavers are larger than male beavers of the same age.

“I got dozens of pictures and video of branches blowing in front of the camera, birds flying past and deer moving about,” said the retired Environment Agency scientist. “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the beaver – I couldn’t believe it to start with.”

He added: “I hope that this is just the first chapter. The beaver has chosen this spot for a reason, so he may like what it offers environmentally – but it is definitely not his home at the moment.”

Tom said that the Ottery beaver could be the same animal that was spotted near Budleigh last summer, although it was impossible to say for sure at this stage.

“If this is the one that was spotted last summer, then something has happened to make him change his behaviour - because he was last photographed swimming along in broad daylight. This (the Ottery beaver) one is very cautious, and in the footage he gets startled very easily – so it is important that he isn’t scared away.”

Farmer David Lawrence, who owns the land where the beaver was spotted, said the sighting could provide an unexpected boost for his camp site business.

“It’s definitely a novelty,” he added. “The Otter is very busy with wildlife, it’s already a beautiful place to come and this is just another great thing for visitors.”

But he politely requested that would-be beaver spotters refrain from searching the area in case they disturb the animal.

“The last thing we want to do is upset him and for him to move on,” he said. “We’re not sure how he’d react to seeing people, and having seen what his teeth have done to the trees it may be best to avoid him!”

1 comment

  • Who benefits? Not the beaver- no mate. Not the ret of the fauna and flora who have their fragile ecosystem disturbed. Only those who are drawing attention to its presence- who will profit. Did they put it there? can a serious newshound follow this theory up?

    Report this comment

    sceptic

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Other News Stories

Mow Mow is pictured in the arms of Paul with his wife Chie and their son Li Xian at their Sidford home this week. Ref shs 8310-09-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A family had already started mourning their missing cat before people power pulled together to reunite them.

Read more
40 Acts of kindness.

A pair of churchgoers took it upon themselves to whitewash over ‘cruel’ graffiti on a long-empty Sidmouth shop as part of a drive to do good this Lent.

Read more
07:06
Save our Sidmouth group at the Knowle gardens in 2012. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 1477-36-12TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

A final decision on controversial district council plans to sell its Knowle HQ and move away from Sidmouth will be made by the end of March.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
The 50 Shades of Grey premiere benefited Sidmouth Hospiscare and Hospiscare Exeter

An evening of glitz and glamour netted nearly £1,200 for charity when the silver screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey made its dazzling debut in Sidmouth.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder