Two female European beavers were released on 19th November 2011 into a completely secure 2.5 acre enclosure here at Blaeneinion. In Summer of 2013, one of the ladies was relocated to another enclosure, and our remaining female joined by a young male. They are getting on famously and we are hoping to see some kits in May 2014!! The project is so far privately funded, and we hope to become a charity this year (once I get round to the paperwork! - any help with this would be much appreciated!)
Left: munching on fresh willow shoots. Above: A newly felled stump surrounded by 'beaver chips'. Below left: The lodge, where they sleep in the day time and take food to eat in safety. Below right: More coppicing activity.
Beavers are nocturnal, waking an hour or so before dusk to inspect their territory and have 'breakfast' before getting on with the serious work of the night - building and shaping their environment. There is an opportunity to watch them at Blaeneinion in the evening, and we now have a regular feeding program in place so that visitors can enjoy their endearing behaviour first hand. Beaver are purely herbivorous - grazing on fresh green leaves, rushes and any other available indigenous green matter. Their preference though are the leaves of Aspen and Willow, which we have planted in abundance around the enclosure to supplement their diet in coming years.
The first of 2 hides is complete, and using wainey edged boards from locally produced Red Cedar, the hide is perfectly placed to get a close up view of their 'breakfast' activities and is not part of the menu. It smells wonderful too!
Apples and carrots are a favoured sweet treat, and if 'skewered' on bamboo canes and pushed into the ground, provide a dexterity challenge for these huge rodents and prevents them scurrying straight back to the lodge to eat in private.
Below left: Apple and carrot 'kebabs' at the feeding area. Below right: The beaver pond in the morning light.
For more detailed information about the European beaver (Castor Fiber) click here.
Above: Our young male is released Below: .....have a look through the hide
We welcome visitors and ask that you respect this beautiful area and our neighbours, and make an arrangement if you would like to see the beavers (call Sharon or Mark on 01654 781215)
We are happy to share information about them when you come and there are a range of accommodation options if you would like a rural retreat with beavers viewing included. Top tips for a successful viewing are to come without any strong-smelling perfumes and with 'quiet' clothing!!! (not crunchy-sounding anoraks which spook the beavs!) Their smell and hearing are very acute :)
To help support the feeding program, and considerable project costs we ask for a donation of £5 per adult if you are just visiting the beavers.
Left: regular maintenance of the enclosure is essential
Enormous thanks to the Derek Gow Consultancy
for all their valuable conservation advice, support, and the supply of the beavers- keep up the good work!
In time, we hope that local people and other interested groups can gain a better understanding of this wonderful creature and it's behaviour. Perhaps the opportunity to observe the beavers in a secure yet semi-wild environment will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding them, and ultimately support the long-term reintroduction of this valuable keystone native species.