An adorable new-born baby beaver was shown to the public for the first time today at the Wildwood Trust, Kent's unique British wildlife park & conservation charity.

The birth of the beaver kit, as they are known, is a momentous event for Wildwood as the cuddly little ball of fluff is set to join one of the biggest conservation projects in the UK.
The beaver will become part of a bold and innovative conservation programme which will see beaver reintroduced to a whole river system in Wales. This ground breaking conservation project is designed to protect and restore wetland habitats.
 
Wildwood Trust and Kent Wildlife Trust, who first brought the European beaver into the UK in 2001, have pioneered the use of beaver as a wildlife conservation tool. The success of this project has inspired a number of other projects and in this latest project Wildwood will be working with the Welsh Wildlife Trusts on the biggest scheme yet to return this once native species to Britain.
 
The baby beaver's parents were given to Wildwood Trust as gift by the German Government and they became famous across the UK as their journey to Wildwood was documented in a special two-part programme shown on BBC Countryfile.
 
Visitors to Wildwood can get the chance to see the new beaver for themselves along with the rest of our beaver family in our specially designed walk-in beaver lodge. Beaver are just some of the huge range of British animals that can be seen at the Wildwood Wildlife Park near Canterbury. For more information visit our website at www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 01227 712111.
Wildwood is situated close to Canterbury, just off the A291 between Herne Bay and Canterbury. 
 
Details of The Welsh Beaver Initiative:
www.welshbeaverproject.org
Adrian Lloyd Jones
Welsh Beaver Project
376 High Street
Bangor
Gwynedd
LL57 1YE
Tel: 01248 351541
Email: beaver.afanc@wildlifetrustswales.org
 
**************Background Information************************
 
WHY ARE BEAVER SO IMPORTANT TO US
As busy as a Beaver is not an idol term, beaver are a "keystone species" which means beaver act as a natural nature reserve wardens, managing and protecting their surrounding habitat. Their skills as foresters and engineers can create and sustain standing water and wetlands that increase biodiversity, purify water and prevent large-scale flooding. 
 
Scientist estimate that in America restoring only 3% of the original, beaver created, wetlands might suffice to prevent catastrophic floods; the same could be true for the UK and beaver could prove to be the best solution to the threat of large scale flooding due to climate change. 
Beavers can also save the taxpayer money; a study published in 2007 by the WildCRU consultancy at Oxford University has concluded that the benefit of beaver reintroduction would substantially outweigh likely costs. Sponsored by the Wild Britain initiative, this report examined evidence from several countries across Europe where beaver have recolonised their former territories over the last 60 years. 
Substantial benefits could accrue to the tourism industry, particularly for local communities, with further less quantifiable gains from effects on flood mitigation and water retention – both likely to be key features of future land use policy as climate change gathers momentum.
 
After learning from the many European successes in reintroducing beavers, Kent Wildlife Trust & the Wildwood Trust decided that European Beaver were the best hope to restore the fragile wetland habitat of Ham Fen in Kent. Now Wildwood hopes to recreate the success of this project on a much larger scale by reintroducing beavers to a river system in Wales as part of The Welsh Beaver Project.
 
This ambitious project is only possible thanks to Government own advisers who have come down on the side of beaver and have recommended that they should be reintroduced to the UK, Scottish Natural History's director of science, Colin Galbraith, said:
"More than 20 other countries, including France, Germany and Denmark have reintroduced beavers and the experience has been very positive. Beavers fit into the landscape very well and in places like Brittany they have become part of the environment, with minimal damage to agriculture and other interests. 
"Beaver dams would improve water quality, produce new habitats for fish and help reduce flooding downstream." 
 
For more information on The Welsh Beaver project, visit www.welshbeaverproject.org
 
 
BEAVER HISTORY:
European Beaver, not to be confused with its American cousin, was native throughout Britain until man hunted them to extinction in the 17th Century.
Since that time the beaver was wiped out across mainland Europe. But thanks to the unstinting efforts of conservationists throughout Europe beaver have slowly been reintroduced. Now Britain stands as the last European country to be without the benefits of having this wonderful creature restoring and managing its natural inland waterways.
 
KEY BENEFITS OF BEAVER

1. Help save otters, water voles, fish & a huge range of threatened wildlife
2. Protect our land and towns from catastrophic flooding
3. Create diverse wildlife rich wetlands
4. Improves water quality
 
KEY BEAVER FACTS
1. Beaver eat only plants NOT fish
2. European beaver are completely harmless to man
3. European Beaver have NO significant impact on agriculture
4. Beavers live side by side with man all over the European mainland
 
Distribution: Throughout Europe and Asia Recently reintroduced across Europe. The European Beaver cousin the North American Beaver exists throughout Canada, USA and Mexico Main threats: Habitat loss and hunting for the fur trade.
Preferred habitat: rivers, lakes and swamps Favourite food: aspen and willow bark, freshwater plants and herbs 
Size (including tail): 105-130 cm 
Weight:18-38 kg 
Life span: 7-8 years Breeding: 
 
Beavers mate for life and kits are born in April or June. Newborn kits are fully furred, and have their eyes open at birth. Average no. young: 3-6 per litter.
Performance: Beavers are mainly nocturnal and spend half of their lives on water and half on land. They are prolific builders of lodges and dams, hence the phrase "as busy as a beaver".and can cut down a tree up to 1.5 metres in diameter, although they rarely do this. They can hold breath underwater for up to 15 mins.