This report was commissioned to inform Natural England’s advice to government on the approach to beaver reintroduction in England. One aspect of this relates to consideration of the best founding individuals for a reintroduction.
Although species reintroductions are a key conservation tool used to help restore species populations and/or ecosystem functions, genetic management needs to be an important consideration of any reintroduction strategy in line with the IUCN guidelines and the Reintroduction and other conservation translocations: code and guidance for England.
The genetic composition of founder individuals for reintroduction projects can affect reintroduction success. Beaver reintroduction is a topic of increasing interest in England, but historically re-introductions of this species across Great Britain has been uncoordinated resulting in disjointed populations of varying status. In order to maximise the success of beaver reintroduction into England, consideration needs to be made of genetic aspects that will increase the likelihood of success.
This report investigates the genetic diversity in beavers currently present in England, both free-living and in enclosures, with a view to inform best practice for future reintroductions and management.