The Eurasian beaver was near extinction at the start of the twentieth century, hunted across Europe for its fur, meat and castoreum. But now the beaver is on the brink of a comeback, with wild beaver populations, licensed and unlicensed, emerging all over Britain.
As a keystone species, the beaver plays a vital role in the creation of sustainable wetland habitats through its damming activities, providing living opportunities for a broad spectrum of wildlife. Yet as proposals for reintroducing beavers are underway, re-establishing the beaver in Britain is still a controversial issue.
This book presents a case for our future coexistence with beavers by providing factual information on this species that has now passed from national memory, covering the biology, behaviour and ecology of the Eurasian beaver in a British context, from their early history in archaeology and folklore to their contemporary field signs in the wild. This book familiarises readers once again, after almost 400 years of its absence, with the Eurasian beaver, providing essential information on its requirements in our human dominated landscape.
This book is for those with a specific interest in beavers and their reintroduction, and for anyone with a general curiosity in natural history, ecology or animal behaviour. It can be used as a field guide to identify beaver field signs and observe beavers in the wild by wildlife surveyors or general land users, or as an introductory guide for anyone with an interest in beavers and how to recognise them.
The authors have been actively involved in the study of beaver ecology, behaviour and reintroduction for many years. They have a first-hand knowledge of beavers in captivity and in the wild in both Britain and a range of other European countries.
Róisín Campbell-Palmer is Conservation Projects Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, where she has worked for 12 years. She is Field Operations Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial and is currently undertaking her PhD in beaver health and welfare.
Derek Gow is a freelance ecologist who has worked with beavers and water voles in Britain for over 20 years. He has advised Natural England and Countryside Council for Wales on beaver reintroduction
Robert Needham has a BSc in Wildlife Management and an MSc in Ecology. He is currently undertaking a PhD on the relationship between beaver dams and the movement of fish. He has worked on the Scottish Beaver Trial for the past three and a half years.
Simon Jones is Director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust. He was previously the Project Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial and has worked in wildlife conservation and reserve management for over 20 years.
Frank Rosell is a renowned beaver ecologist, publishing more than 80 scientific papers with peer review. He is professor in behaviour ecology at Telemark University College, Norway, and was part of the advisory board of the Scottish Beaver Trial.