Baby beavers on the River Otter
PUBLISHED: 00:09 24 June 2015 | UPDATED: 15:10 21 July 2015
The birth of baby beavers on the River Otter has been taken as proof that England's only wild colony feels 'very much at home'.
The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT), which is running a project to monitor the first wild family of beavers in England for hundreds of years, says new film footage proves that their population is growing.
Footage shot by Tom Buckley shows baby beavers – known as kits – taking their first swimming lessons and being helped through the water by their mother at an undisclosed location on the river.
DWT’s Mark Elliott said: “We are thrilled that the beavers have bred.
“The baby kits appear fit and healthy and the adults seem as if they are taking their parenting responsibilities very seriously.
“It tells us that the beavers are very much at home in this corner of Devon.
“The slowly-expanding population of these wild animals will help us to gain valuable insights into beavers and their environment - both in terms of animal behaviour and any benefits and effects on the surrounding river system.”
He added that any members of the public who wanted to see the kits should keep a ‘respectful distance’ and keep dogs well under control, so as not to disturb them.
The beavers were re-released back into the wild after a lengthy campaign by conservationists, local residents and politicians to secure their future on the river after it was suggested they were a disease threat.
Natural England granted DWT a license to test the creatures for disease, before re-releasing them to be monitored January 2015.