Friday, November 21, 2008

Wild Beavers.

I'm a trustee of my local wildlife trust. I was a bit late for tonight's Trust meeting - but I was in time for a discussion about beavers. I'm interested in beavers, and in particular whether they should be allowed to run around in a natural state in wild Wales. It was a private meeting so I can only comment on my own opinion. Instinctively and emotionally, I'm attracted to the idea of beavers on the loose - but I'm always a bit suspicious of reintroductions of what have become de facto alien species. The one thing we can be sure of is that the consequences will not be what we think they might be. Personally, I'm pleased that the European Beaver is going to be reintroduced on a trial basis in Scotland, rather than Wales. Hopefully, we will wait until the evidence of these trials are available before we take the plunge.

Only last week, I heard reports of dreadful damage being caused by another animal which has been returned to the wild, the wild boar. Initially, I also instinctively and emotionally liked the idea of this creature roaming through our woodlands as well. But last week they ventured out of their woodland retreats and dug up a cricket pitch. This is a declaration of intent. Something must be done. Well, I also read last week that Henry the Eighth used to hunt wild boar and sent one to Anne Boleyn as a token of his passion for her, pleading that she should think of him when she ate it. Could this be a virtuous circle. We reintroduce new species into our countryside, and then object to what their nature compels them to do, and then we reintroduce the old county sport of hunting them. Just imagine hundreds of Welshmen on horseback, riding off into the woods hunting beavers.


Simon Dyda said...

Wild boars can cause these kind of problems, though there's as many pros as ther are cons. It also has to be kept in mind that on the continent their population is controlled by seasonal hunting (they taste good too), although I don't know what their current numbers are in the UK.

I lived in anarea where beavers were present. To be honest they didn't have much of an impact on that area, so I'd guess it all depends on the circumstances of the location. They certainly don't multiply on the same scale as wild boar do.

Chanticleer said...

Catching a glimpse of a beaver in the woods is nothing new in some parts of Wales, surely.

Anonymous said...

How dare the part-time MP Lembit Opik claim he's responsible for saving our Post Office at Abermule, when he didn't even bother to turn up for the vote on Post Office closures in parliament. His ex Shan Lloyd has done more for the cause up here than he ever did. He hasn't even been around for the bulk of our campaigning, no doubt with parties to attend and half dressed girlies to escort. And here he is claiming all the glory. His arrogance sickens me. No wonder the Liberals recently rejected him so wholeheartedly.....

Anonymous said...

I too, quite like Beaver.

l.r. dyke said...

I love beavers!

dalesman said...

It's a long time ago, but Beavers used to be native here, as did Boars.

If re-introduced we would have to get used to it.

Adrian said...

See this website for more on beavers in Wales:

Morgan Hen (Morgan the Old) said...

Nice one Glyn! I 've heard that they will be introducing woolly mammoths in Cardiff Bay ;)

BTW Where's me link :(

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

... talking about species and 'so on' ... what about that super-species called Welsh jobs?

There's stuff coming down the Congressional pipeline that will make red/grey squirrel issue look like a packet of roasted peanuts.

Merely a rhetorical question, but "Do you understand"? ... line from Atomic Kitten (Eternal Flame lyrics).

Meaning: why didn't anyone pick up on: "It's all about “JOBS JOBS JOBS” … US Federal Tax Code changes are coming down the Congressional Pipeline - and they are going to HURT jobs in Europe/UK/Wales ... don't anyone say you were not warned. Some 50,000,000 got the message c/o BBC's Question Time from Washington, but few heeded or even acknowledged the message. Even a GOP consultant on the panel didn't know what to say, and Elizabeth Edwards went into denial mode and explicitly stated that the Federal Tax Code will not be changed (I'm paraphrasing and relying on memory, I was there live and didn't see a rerun).

Well, it's going to happen in 2009 - with the Democrats in strong control of the Legislature and Executive branches of US government (and might have a shot at changing the U.S. S. Ct., also a branch of US government), jobs (or rather American jobs) will be a top Congressional priority.

Airbus (including the North Wales Airbus wing plant) has lost the DOD mid-air refueling contract – and moreover Airbus (or rather EADS) will not get much of the additional mid-air refuel tanker orders – the entire fleet is going to be replaced – but guess where the work will go? Tip: not to Airbus, which means a loss of billions in wing orders for Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Clearly there is huge interest in beavers.

Simon - I believe boar have bred from escpaees, and are now becoming common in some areas. They are said to be quite dangerous - but only if cornered. Biggest problem is the environmental damage they do to undergrowth as rooting for food.

Chanticleer - So now we know what you do in your spare time.

anon - Must admit I was surprised to read such grand claims for acheiving 'partnership' status, which was on offer from the beginning - and which was taken up in Berriew months ago. after a local public meeting which I chaired decided it preferred that option to a mobile van. I might post on the strangeness of the reporting on this issue by the County Times.

anon and l.r.- Have you ever seen one in the wild?

dalesman - But there could well be unforeseen consequences. I believe the trials in Scotland are being conducted on the basis that if things turn out unfavourably, eradication remains an option. Remember that the Grey Squirrel was a welcomed introduced species which has eradicated the Red in many parts of Britain.

Thanks Adrian and I'll sort out the link Morgan. I need to change several which have stopped blogging and introduce several new ones.

Unixman said...

dear oh dear! Where is you imagination?

Anonymous said...

It's a matter of equality. If gay men have badgers then straight men deserve beavers.

Simon Dyda said...

They are said to be quite dangerous - but only if cornered.

When literally cornered yes they can be. A sow with piglets on the other hand is a dangerous encounter with or without the cornering.

Dogs will run after boars instinctively, at least if they have never actually met a full grown boar before. Boars will run from a single dog for about a minute or so; when they realise that they are being pursued by a single dog rather than an entire pack they will immediately turn about and pursue the dog, often right back to the owner, so it's generally never a good idea to let the dog off the leash if you're walking in boar territory.

In winter boars are apt to visit homesteads in their area at night, but I found that having at least two dogs loose outside was generally enough to keep them away.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - on the verge of what I allow.

simon - We used to keep pigs on the farm, and sows (not wild) were also potentially dangerous when they had piglets. During this period of emotional instability they would often eat their piglets. But thanks for knowledge that could prove useful if I ever confront a herd of wild boar, armed with only one dog. If the pigs are heading off one way, I should run for it the other way.