Let the beavers save us—and the planet—from ourselves (2)
Leave it to Beavers
July 4, 2014
The government’s decision to capture England’s only free-living population is unjustified and irrational.
By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 4th July 2014
British people love wildlife, but the government, yet again, seems determined to show that it hates it.
An opinion poll in Scotland found that 86 per cent of respondents were in favour of reintroducing the beaver. As most people seem to understand, it’s a magnificent animal which can enrich our lives and our countryside. It was once part of our native fauna, but was exterminated by hunting. It’s also a critically important species, essential to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems.
So when beavers were discovered, living and breeding on the River Otter in Devon, after they escaped from a collection somewhere, the public reaction was, overwhelmingly, delight. It’s the first population to live freely in England for hundreds of years.