A 12-month public consultation on reintroducing beavers to Wales has opened, 824 years after the last native beaver was recorded in the wild there. The Wildlife Trusts in Wales hope for a controlled introduction similar to that at Knapdale, Argyllshire, which was welcomed by Scottish tourism, but greeted with less enthusiasm by some landowners. Euphemistically described as ‘nature’s lumberjacks’, beavers can dramatically alter a landscape in a short time, and they tend to escape, but they’re also natural enhancers of wetlands and water systems.

The fishing industry seems to be in favour: ‘The beaver is a native species and deserves to be part of Wales again,’ says Lynn Hughes of the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association. ‘A managed beaver reintroduction has the potential to greatly improve our river and wetland systems for wildlife, including for fish such as sea trout and Atlantic salmon.’

The six potential sites for beavers are the Dee (Flintshire), Glaslyn (Gwynedd), Rheidol (Ceredigion), Teifi (Carmarthenshire border) and Eastern and Western Cleddau (Pembrokeshire). To contribute to the consultation (www.welshbeaverproject.org), write to Welsh Beaver Project, 376, High Street, Bangor, LL57 1YE, telephone 01248 351541 or email beaver.afanc@wildlifetrustswales.org

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