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Escaped European beaver living on Thames


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A beaver that escaped from captivity has been found living wild on the banks of the Thames, more than 400 years after the species became extinct in Britain.


The European beaver has been sighted on the river several times since Christmas. The Environment Agency has now called in a wildlife group from Gloucestershire, which breeds beavers, to try to trap it.


Graham Scholey, of the Environment Agency, said: “This beaver has escaped from captivity, although the source is currently unknown. Measures are in hand to recapture the beaver and its location is not being disclosed to ensure that the operation can take place with minimal interference with the animal.”


A number of young willow trees have been felled across the river, but Mr Scholey said there was little chance of the beaver building a dam and causing flooding.


“European beavers are capable of building dams. But it is clear that this beaver has been living largely unnoticed,” he said.



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