The Cornish Seal Sanctuary team is incredibly excited to finally announce their “Secret Creek” project which will be taking place in the large woodland area of the Sanctuary.
Two rescued young beaver sisters from Scotland have been welcomed as the Sanctuary's new residents! The two girls made an epic journey down to the Sanctuary from Scotland, where they had been rescued by Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, and for a short period were then in the care of Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder where they underwent health screening procedures.
With native wildlife conservation at the heart of the Sanctuary, they worked with various conservation groups across the country to decide on the best use of their large woodland area - the addition of beavers! Their perfect new habitat will open doors to research around their impact on the environment.
The Sanctuary’s old otter enclosure has now been repurposed and updated to create a new “Beaver Nursery” for the pair, where they will spend their first few months settling in, with the team keeping a close eye on their behaviour and eating habits.
Once they have reached a good healthy weight and have the capability of building their own shelters and dams, the beavers will be moved to their brand-new home in the large 5 km2 wooded area behind the Beaver Nursery to live a natural beaver life.
The Sanctuary team are planning various research projects to understand more about beaver behaviour in the wild and how they impact the environment they inhabit. It is known that their presence is beneficial and may even help to combat climate change. The projects will mainly focus on monitoring water quality and impact of damming, biodiversity counts, landscape changes and public perception on beaver rewilding.
Beavers are very secretive creatures, mostly active during the night, which makes it difficult for the public to observe these mammals. The aim of the “Secret Creek" area is to provide engaging educational content for visitors to learn about these enigmatic animals. Returning guests will see landscape changes happening over time, always with the possibility to catch a glimpse of the beaver sisters hard at work.
"We’re very pleased to be able to help with this project by licensing the re-location of beavers from Scotland to Cornwall. Beavers can have hugely positive impacts on nature and people, creating habitats such as ponds and wetlands where other species thrive, as well as moderating water flows and improving water quality. We wish the Cornish Seal Sanctuary every success and look forward to supporting similar projects elsewhere to realise the many benefits that beavers can provide."Jenny Bryce NatureScot Wildlife Ecology Manager
Wild beavers had been living in Great Britain over 400 years ago before going extinct. They were mainly hunted for their fur and castoreum, a musky secretion, thought to contain medicinal properties. Conservationists and beaver re-wilding campaigners across Britain are trialling many projects, bringing beavers into managed environments to study their impact on nature.
Beavers are a ‘keystone species' as their natural behaviour has such a significant impact on landscape and wildlife. By damming waterways, beavers pool water, slowing the flow in rivers and streams. This water floods an area, creating new wetland and attracting wildlife, providing a home and water source for many species.
“It is pretty special when we see beavers go off into their new homes, and it just makes it all worthwhile.”Dr Roisin Campbell- Palmer Beaver Ecologist & Practitioner, who rescued and transported the beavers to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary are thrilled to be able to provide a home for their two rescued beaver sisters through The Secret Creek project, which would never have been possible without the support of other organisations, including Natural England, The Beaver Trust, Five Sister Zoo, Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, as well as vital funding provided by the Postcode Local Trust. From licensing, rescue, transport and care for these beaver sisters, it has been a journey for all involved.
For more information and to support the work at the Sanctuary visit sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org.