After nearly 400 years, beavers have been reintroduced back to Ealing.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, alongside Ealing Wildlife Group, Citizen Zoo, Ealing Council, Friends of Horsenden Hill and Groundwork London has released a family of 5 beavers into the wild at Paradise Fields in Greenford.
The reintroduction of Eurasian beavers to Ealing was previously announced earlier this year and follows other parts of the UK that has seen reintroduction including Enfield in 2022.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted to welcome back beavers to West London for the first time in 400 years, with the support of my Rewild London Fund. We are facing climate and ecological emergencies worldwide, but we have the power to make a difference, and I am committed to ensuring that London is at the forefront of reversing the trends of declining biodiversity and the destruction of nature.”
Mr Khan added: “I’m proud that we are turning London into a wildlife haven, as well as making the city more resilient to the effects of climate change, as we work to clean up our city, re-establish lost species and reconnect people and nature, building a greener, fairer city for all Londoners. I encourage groups to apply to the fund now.”
Dr Sean McCormack, vet and chair of Ealing Wildlife Group commented: “It’s unbelievably exciting that after a lot of hard work and volunteer effort to make this happen, we’re welcoming beavers back to Ealing. We’re excited to show they can have benefits in the urban landscape, not only for wildlife but for people too.”
Dr McCormack added: “Their activities here over the coming years should provide some serious nature based solutions to urban problems such as flooding. We’re also excited to see the wildlife that shows up on site and the effects that having nature on your doorstep can have for urban communities.”
Experts say having beavers back in Ealing will be good for the environment. Among the benefits of a local beaver population is they help reduce flood risk by slowing water
flow in times of high rainfall and mitigate drought by holding more water on the land.
David Mooney, CEO at London Wildlife Trust, said: “London Wildlife Trust is proud to be supporting this wonderful project to bring beavers back to Ealing. The reintroduction of this keystone species, absent in Ealing for centuries, really is going to help make London one step wilder. In the face of a climate and ecological emergency it is partnerships like this one that will give hope for nature’s recovery. At the same it will help us all recover our lost connection with the natural world.”
Actor and WWF Ambassador Miranda Richardson said “Who knew this was happening in West London? I am thrilled to have had a close encounter with beavers today – nature’s extraordinary environmental engineers – in a setting so close to my home in central London. And I am excited to learn more about this project, which furthers our understanding of how we can live together with nature.”
Elliot Newton, cofounder of Citizen Zoo said: “We are incredibly proud to be part of this pioneering project, which will help to challenge perceptions about what is possible in urban settings. Beavers can be found in urban environments across Europe and North America, and here we will help to demonstrate how we can embrace nature-rich and functional landscapes even in built-up landscapes such as Ealing”.
Beaver Trust spokesperson, Eva Bishop said: “It’s an important move in the species’ restoration; “Projects like these offer an ideal opportunity to relocate beavers and continue to stabilise populations while we await a national policy framework for wild releases. It’s incredibly rewarding to see community-driven action to reconnect more people with nature and welcome beavers back into this urban landscape.”
In a previous comment on welcoming the beavers, Central Greenford Councillor Dr Aysha Raza said: “Greenford residents are delighted to be welcoming beavers to our area. This project gives us the unique opportunity to see rewilding in action up close. I’m most excited about the improvements to the local flooding problems which impact many people. Hopefully we can prove that there are effective natural solutions to problems that would otherwise need invasive and expensive interventions, and we hope to show other urban areas the way forward.”