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Eurasian beaver disease risk management and post-release health surveillance protocol (JP055)

Interest in Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) translocation to England for conservation and mitigation purposes has grown in recent years. Any animal translocation presents the potential for health and welfare risks to the animals involved, as well as wildlife, livestock, domestic animals and humans at and around release sites.

The purpose of this protocol is to present a practical approach for undertaking Eurasian beaver translocations in England to both mitigate potential disease risks and to promote individual beaver welfare. In particular, the protocol is designed to minimise time spent by beavers in captivity for the purposes of testing while recognising that temporary housing may be required while suitable release sites are identified or family members are trapped.

Translocation pathways (the step-by-step actions that need to be undertaken in a beaver reintroduction), disease risk analysis findings, testing and mitigation protocols have been identified and documented for beaver translocations and captive care in England.

Disease testing protocols, post-capture and prior to release, are described, taking into account the differing and uncertain origins of some beavers.

Best practice guidance on husbandry, animal welfare and stress management in captivity and release site considerations is provided.

There are differences in the management and monitoring of beavers in fenced enclosures and free-living beavers because enclosed projects are subject to more exacting legal obligations. In addition, post-release monitoring will vary with project type, capacity and resource availability, noting that in wild releases individuals may disperse large distances making individual monitoring difficult.

Management of beavers in the wild is therefore likely to focus on body condition and health status of any recovered animals (predominantly via post-mortem examination).

Pre-release disease screening, captive care observation and post-release surveillance should all be continually and transparently assessed to refine protocols and this guidance will be updated accordingly.

This protocol is arranged in the chronological order of the translocation pathway and should be followed accordingly.

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JP055 Edition 1 Eurasian beaver disease risk management and post-release health surveillance protocol, PDF, 4.7 MB 2024/05/21

Related Access to Evidence records

A review of the evidence on the interactions of beavers with the natural and human environment in relation to England (NEER017)
Disease Risk Analysis for the Conservation Translocation of the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) to England (NECR345)
NECR540 Revised DRA for the Conservation Translocation of the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) to England (NECR540)