A West Norfolk estate has welcomed the first beaver born in the county for around 600 years.
Wild Ken Hill at Snettisham has today (Friday) confirmed trailcams have captured footage of a young beaver, known as a kit, inside the 55-acre beaver enclosure.
The kit belongs to one of two pairs of beavers which were successfully reintroduced on the estate last year as part of a rewilding project.
Although only one beaver kit has been spotted so far, beavers on average produce three offspring, meaning there might be more.
Wild Ken Hill has now set up more cameras to establish how many kits have been born.
Dominic Buscall, project manager at Wild Ken Hill, hailed the news as “an exciting step on the journey to restore beavers to East Anglia”.
“Beavers bring huge benefits to our natural environment. With the right balance of protection and management, we could harness them across England to assist nature recovery and prevent flooding – the project here at Wild Ken Hill is seeking to demonstrate that,” said Mr Buscall.
The footage shows a kit swimming in the territory of a pair of beavers named Orange and Flow, who first met in Autumn 2020 and have spent the winter and spring bonding and building dams.
In May this year, a lodge was also discovered in the beaver enclosure.
Beavers build lodges as protection from predators and will raise their kits inside them in the first few months.
Professor Richard Brazier inspected the lodge at Wild Ken Hill earlier this year, and said “that’s the first beaver lodge to be built in Norfolk for 600 years”.
Lloyd Park, conservation leader and ecologist at the estate said it was an “historic moment”.
He said: “This beaver kit represents a historic moment towards the conservation and restoration of the species within lowland England.
“Beavers are a vital link in restoring and regenerating our natural places and in their short time here at Wild Ken Hill they have already made a significant impact on the landscape within their enclosure. Through their natural processes we have seen increased water levels and changes to the woodland structure that provide opportunities for a host of other wildlife.”
The latest series of BBC Springwatch was based at Wild Ken Hill and will also be featured on Autumnwatch and Winterwatch where it is hoped further footage can be captured of the beaver family.
Further details on the discovery of a beaver kit can be found on the Wild Ken Hill Blog at www.wildkenhill.co.uk/blog