A pair of beavers introduced to a forest in North Yorkshire in a “revolutionary” trial to combat flooding have become parents.
The two kits have been captured on camera, swimming and interacting with their mother, at their home in the Forestry England site at Cropton Forest.
Their parents were moved from Scotland earlier this year as part of the five-year trial to assess how they will interact with man-made dams in the area.
Cath Bashforth, ecologist at Forestry England, said: “We are all very happy to see the arrival of two healthy kits.
“With beavers being very social animals, the family unit will live together. It is fascinating to watch them explore their surroundings and they are quickly learning from their parents.
“I’m really looking forward to watching them grow and bond as a family.”
The Eurasian beavers were once native to England but were hunted to extinction in the 16th century.
The mammals can bring huge benefits to people, wildlife and plants by building dams and digging canal systems, creating large areas of water-retaining wetlands, which reduce flooding downstream.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) licensed the original beaver pair to be moved from Scotland to Cropton Forest – where communities have suffered severe flooding in the last 20 years, including a flood in 2007 which caused around £7 million of damage to homes and businesses.
Forestry England described the move as “a revolutionary trial in natural flood management” and said it is hoped that the beavers will maintain existing man-made dams and create their own, potentially reducing the impact of flooding locally.
It is also expected that the beavers’ activity in Cropton Forest will improve biodiversity in their 10-hectare home.
The animals will be monitored throughout the five-year project to assess the benefits they bring to the ecosystem.