Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

‘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, 19:30

A pair of new boreholes are being drilled in Sidford this month that will supply two million litres of drinking water to 8,000 East Devon residents. South West Water (SWW) is investing £730,000 installing the boreholes at the Two Bridges Road pumping station to replace one in the Otter Valley, which was dug more than a century ago.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:13

The Beer Coastguard team has looked back on an ‘experience they will never forget’ to mark the 10th anniversary of the MSC Napoli.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:31

Beer’s annual bake off hit its ‘highest standards’ yet, with more entries than ever before.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:30

Poultry owners are being urged to keep their birds indoors – however many they have – to guard against the risk of an outbreak of avian influenza.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:52

Tom set to expand on fresh food ethos at Rising Sun

Read more
Yesterday, 10:36

Emergency services were called to Sidmouth’s Bulverton Road after a car overturned and the driver became trapped yesterday evening (Tuesday).

Read more
Yesterday, 10:28

An ‘unprecedented’ disaster that has left a lasting legacy in East Devon

Read more
Yesterday, 06:48

Reported crime in Branscombe more than doubled last year, following a rise in thefts – including a spate of stolen kayaks.

Read more
Tue, 19:52

Company says the cabinet is in ‘satisfactory’ location and complies with all necessary regulations

Read more
Tue, 18:30

Beer’s annual bake-off hit its ‘highest standards’ yet, with more entries than ever before. Competitors were tasked with baking a creation that represented the village, stood at least two tiers tall and featured a decorative seagull.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

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

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications