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NECR559 Edition 1 Assessment of wild living beaver populations in East Kent (NECR559)

Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports of beaver signs present along the river Stour catchment and surrounding areas in East Kent. From December 2022 to March 2023 a beaver survey was commissioned by Natural England and conducted by a collaboration between Beaver Trust, the University of Exeter, and Kent Wildlife Trust. The survey aimed to understand the distribution and population size estimates of beavers in this catchment and surrounding areas.

A total of 2,157 beaver field signs were recorded, with cut wood being the most common. The data indicates that an established beaver population has been present over the long term (>10 years) and has readily colonised the upper Great Stour catchment. The population’s expansion has been significantly limited by the coastal environment and restricted riverine connectivity through Canterbury.

Kernel density estimation analysis was conducted, along with expert knowledge of the survey area, to arrive at a final estimate of the number of beaver territories. The survey found 51 active beaver territories within the river Stour catchment, with a further 19 areas of beaver activity that could become territories. The territories are closely situated, making it difficult to define territorial boundaries. The beaver population is dynamic, with core areas of permanent territory establishment, and flexible boundaries between individual territories. These findings will be utilized to promote co-existence with beavers in the river Stour catchment, understand their impacts, and help create a management strategy.

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NECR559 Edition 1 Assessment of wild living beaver populations in East Kent, PDF, 10.6 MB 2024/06/04


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