‘Leave the beavers alone!’ Defra told

17:00 07 July 2014

Two of the beavers playing in the Otter. The picture was captured by Tom Buckley in February.

Two of the beavers playing in the Otter. The picture was captured by Tom Buckley in February.

Archant

Ottery residents have joined environmental groups in issuing a ‘hands off’ warning to officials who this week revealed plans to ‘recapture and rehome’ a family of beavers living near the town.

The announcement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs came last Monday, with the government agency saying the animals could be carrying a disease not currently present in the UK.

The group of at least three creatures are believed to be the country’s only example of beavers living in the wild.

Ottery residents have this week strongly criticised Defra’s plan to trap and move the animals to a zoo.

“Leave our beavers alone,” said Juliet Lovell. “Let them be and study them in a natural habitat.”

Verity Owen-Nickels added: “Go away Defra! Leave the beavers alone!”

An online petition urging the Government not to interfere with the animals had attracted more than 2,000 signatures as the Herald went to press.

The announcement has also come under fire from environmental scientist Tom Buckley, who first captured the group on camera in February.

Ottery resident Tom said he was ‘absolutely horrified’ at Defra’s plan, adding that the justification that the animals could be carrying a disease was a ‘red herring’.

He said: “They are going to take us back over 500 years to exterminate beavers again from their natural wild habitat, taking away all the immense enjoyment that these beavers bring to so many people, now and into the future.

“Why not give these beavers the chance to continue and demonstrate how they can exist in harmony with us?”

David Lawrence, the owner of Knightstone Farm where the animals were first spotted, said they had not had any negative impact on his land or his farming business.

“They aren’t making a blind bit of difference to me on that front,” he said. “[Defra] are welcome to come down and test them [for disease], and if they are clean I’m more than happy for them to stay.”

The government agency has said that all decisions will be taken with the welfare of the beavers in mind.

“We intend to recapture, and rehome these beavers and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so,” said a spokesperson. “Depending on the source of the animals, they could be carrying a disease not currently present in the UK.

“In addition, beavers have not been an established part of our wildlife for the last 500 years. Our landscape and habitats have changed since then and we need to assess the impact they could have.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 11:02
Baby Beaver.
Tom Buckley/Devon Wildlife Trust

Residents eager to find out more about the first baby beavers born on the River Otter are invited to attend a public meeting.

Read more
Wed, 16:33
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7712-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

A £500,000 budget has been proposed for the district council to provide dedicated gypsy sites across East Devon.

Read more
Wed, 12:29
Alan Durrant, chairman of Sid Vale Association, presents Dr Duncan Hall of the Beacon Medical Centre with a donation towards the planting of trees and shrubs around the grounds. Ref shs 9545-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth’s multimillion-pound medical centre has received a boost to its £16,000 project to improve the look of its car park.

Read more
Tue, 18:30
Wood(bury) Stock 2015. Doctors Orders. Photo: Neil Ewins.

A successful blues, roots and folk music festival took place recently at Woodbury’s Malsters Arms.

Read more
Tue, 12:29
Branscombe Preschool achieved an 'outstanding' result from their latest Ofsted inspection. Ref shb 9478-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Ofsted has give staff at Branscombe Pre-school top marks for their “innovative and exciting programme” after their latest inspection.

Read more
Tue, 11:00
Devon County Council is planning to close Green Close Care Home to cut costs

Sidmouth’s Green Close is being offered for tender and could reopen as a care home, offer other social care – or be converted into housing.

Read more
Tue, 06:33
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7712-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

The welfare of an endangered bat population at East Devon District Council’s Knowle site could be in jeopardy if planned building works go ahead, say worried residents.

Read more
St Saviours

Hopes of creating a new community hub and premises for Ottery Library have been dashed as county councillors ‘dug in their feet’ over conditions.

Read more
Mon, 16:19

Police have issued the all-clear after suspicious packages found in Exeter city centre have been safely dealt with.

Read more
Mon, 15:27

Parts of Exeter city centre remain out of bounds after suspicious packages were found this morning (Monday).

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 17°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



Devon's trusted business finder