The environmental charity Friends of the Earth has launched legal action to try to stop the government from ordering the capture of a family of beavers living in the wild in Devon.
FoE lawyers have submitted legal papers seeking to challenge licences that allow the capture the animals, believed to be the first beavers to live in the wild in England for centuries.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to trap the colony and transfer the creatures to a zoo or wildlife park. It argues they are a non-native, invasive species and could carry a disease.
FoE argues that because Britain was part of the beavers’ natural range before they were hunted to extinction, they are protected under European law.
Friends of the Earth has picked up the gauntlet and will challenge DEFRA under EU law. Unlike their English overlords, they think 500 years of extinction is enough, and want beavers back on the landscape. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me for those lucky beavers and for all of us who get to read quotes like this over and over in international media.
“We know that beavers can bring many benefits, such as boosting fish stocks, improving biodiversity and helping to prevent flooding – as well as injecting a little more joy into our landscape.
The story was picked up by the BBC this morning, and will be everywhere by tomorrow. The first step was to write a protocol letter to ‘Natural England’ who very unnaturally issued the license for the beavers to be trapped in the first place. This forces them to release more information and is the first step in a judicial review. If you would like to help you can donate to the campaign or sign up for alerts here: