On the morning of 21 April 2019 a young female beaver (PIT tag number F0840) was trapped in Scotland at a conflict site on the River Tay. She travelled to Devon and was health screened at RSPCA West Hatch en route and shown to be healthy.
Devon Wildlife Trust released the beaver into the River Otter at dusk. She entered an unoccupied space between territories with plentiful undisturbed habitats near Dotton Bridge on the river’s lower reaches. Following release she slowly moved downstream.
The body of a dead beaver was recovered near the estuary three days later (24 April) was confirmed to be the released animal. There were no external signs of injury suggesting that her cause of death was not directly due to conflicts with other beavers. She arrived at RAMM on 25 April 2019.
HISTORY OF THE RIVER OTTER BEAVER TRIAL
The surprise arrival of beavers on the River Otter (just 13 miles from RAMM) in 2013 caused quite a stir and divided opinions. They captured the hearts of the public and they campaigned against the beavers’ removal. The beavers became part of a five year scientific trial by Devon Wildlife Trust to assess their impact on local geography, ecology and people. The results of the trial were overwhelmingly positive. This female beaver was part of the trial. She was introduced to increase genetic diversity at this site. Only three beavers from the River Otter trial are known to have died.
In January 2020 DEFRA ruled that families of beavers on the River Otter are permitted to remain there. This is a landmark decision and one of the most important moments in England's conservation history. This is the first ever reintroduction of an extinct native mammal to England. Beavers in England are now a protected species.
Preservation of this beaver was made possible with support from the Friends of RAMM and the Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA).
In 2021 Jazmine Miles-Long made this taxidermy mount for RAMM. The teeth and claws are replicas so the originals could be included in the articulated skeleton prepared by Jon Nott (28/2021/2). The two mounts are mirror images of one another.