Two beavers settling into a new life on a West Norfolk estate are the first to be reintroduced to the county for centuries.
A pair of adult females, transferred from a zoo in Scotland, have been reintroduced to Norfolk as part of a managed rewilding project at Wild Ken Hill in Snettisham.
One has been captured on camera carrying wood across a sluice in a project to return 1,500 acres of land back to nature.
It is hoped two males, also from Scotland, can be introduced to the estate in the summer once the trapping season reopens and when the pandemic lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
The females, introduced last month, have not bred before and have been released into different areas of the enclosure.
They travelled in crates and were released at dusk.
In the first few days clear signs of feeding suggested both beavers were settling into their new surroundings.
Project manager Dominic Buscall said: “We are delighted to welcome this incredibly important animal back to Norfolk, hundreds of years after it was hunted to extinction.
“Centuries ago, it is highly likely beavers will have used the wet, low-lying woodland at Ken Hill, that now forms part of their new home.
“It feels fantastic to return this animal, which is a very important step towards having this ecosytem engineer rightly re-categorised as a native species in England, and helping to arrest the shocking decline in national biodiversity.
“We are looking forward to monitoring the impact that they will have.
“We want to say a huge thank you for those involved in the delivery of this conservation work, particularly Natural England for support in funding the enclosure, Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland for carefully looking after the beavers during captivity and to Derek Gow and Roisin Campbell-Palmer for their help and support during the entire process.”
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