Sunday 11 September 2022

Bringing Back the Dorset

A recent 'good read' is this...

I finished it a few weeks back, which was rather timely.

The author, Derek Gow, has been advising the Mapperton Estate team on the reintroduction of Beavers as part of its rewilding project. I knew this was planned for some time in 2022, but not exactly when, so it was a nice surprise to receive an invitation to come along and witness the arrival of the Mapperton Beavers first-hand on Friday...

The enclosure is massive, and looks pretty robust. Trail-cam installation in progress.

And here they come. The crates are steel, obviously.

Approaching the release point.

Mapperton Beaver

Onlookers getting a close inspection.

This one was slightly smaller, the female I assume.

What those photos do not convey is how enormous Beavers are. In the flesh they are truly impressive beasts. Apparently both are mature adults, with the heaviest weighing in at some 21kg. I was expecting to see something akin to a fat Otter, and was rather surprised to see a pair of small bears emerge from the crates!

Also not evident in the photos is how dark it was down in the bottom of the enclosure. So dark that I thought it wiser to film the actual release rather than bother with photos. I'm very glad I did. There was some concern that they might bolt from their crates. Thankfully no. This is not bolting...

I am really looking forward to seeing how they get on.

These are not the only Beavers in in the county. Another project has been running in West Dorset since early last year, and already that pair has bred. I did check online to see if the location is named. It isn't, so I shan't mention it here. Hopefully the Mapperton Beavers will be as quick to multiply...


  1. I do have my doubts about the release of large creatures in our small country but, if it works, I'll be the first to support it. However, I did note that (unlike otters), beavers can be killed by land owners if they do damage or threaten the land through flooding. Maybe they are not the universally beneficial, cuddly critters they are supposed to be.

    I know what you mean about their size though. I met one in an RSPCA centre many years ago, that had been found roaming in a trading estate in Kent, she was an impressive beast and, as all beavers are, adorable.

    I have seen a couple of beavers on the Wye, on benefit of wild swimmers ;o)

    1. Their ability to create/transform habitat, with associated increase in biodiversity, is a big plus in favour of Beaver reintroduction. This site will be closely monitored in order to assess the inevitable changes that take place. Hopefully all will be positive...