2 Beavers Named Hazel and Chompy Reintroduced to English County–the First Ones to Live Here in 400 Years

​credit: Nick Upton/Ewhurst – Released

For the first time in 400 years, beavers are back in the wilds of Hampshire, southern England.

Once hunted to extinction, this toothy engineer is now in high demand, and it’s hoped their building of dams will restore much of the local fresh water features that have suffered in their absence.

Given the names ‘Hazel’ and ‘Chompy’ through a naming competition by local schoolchildren, the Eurasian beavers have never met each other, but it’s hoped they will breed.

Hazel and Chompy were released onto the 925-acre (370-hectare) Ewhurst Estate near Basingstoke, Hampshire, owned by a Malaysian-born model and actress Mandy Lieu who was “thrilled” to have them, and who sees them as key to restoring ponds, streams, and wetlands on the estate.

Throughout Europe and America, beavers were hunted in many places to extinction for their furs, but they’re now in high demand for their incredible natural abilities as engineers. By building their dams they create and enrich ponds and streams, which for Eurocrat lawmakers means more carbon dioxide absorption in the soil.

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The dams slow the passage of water through landscapes which has a variety of effects, including reducing flood risks downstream by expanding adjacent wetlands, and increasing the habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic animals in the ecosystem.

To do the same thing with humans would undoubtedly cost millions in labor and administration, with on-site safety procedures, zoning and council planning, regulation, the renting of earth-moving equipment, accompanied scientific observational studies, reports to higher-ups, etc.

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“[B]eavers do this all for free!” said the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, who helped organize the reintroduction at Ewhurst after a similar program on the Isle of Wight.

“…Beavers offer a nature-based solution to improving the health and function of river catchments. The beaver-created wetlands can act as sponges which can capture organic sediments, and reduce the effects of agricultural runoff and harmful chemicals such as pesticides, which in turn helps to improve water quality downstream.”

Ms. Lieu helped with their release as part of her designs to rewild the Ewhurst Estate into an edible landscape that restores nature while providing wild foods. She said she was thrilled to see and help them settle into their environment.

WATCH the release here from the BBC. 

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