The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today joined, project partners Ealing Wildlife Group, Citizen Zoo, Ealing Council, Friends of Horsenden Hill and Groundwork London to release a family of 5 beavers into the wild at Paradise Fields in Ealing – the first beavers to be seen in west London for 400 years.
By reintroducing beavers to the site, the project, which is supported by the Mayor’s Rewild London Fund and Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund, aims to transform the area into a flourishing wetland, help combat the impact of the climate crisis and create an improved ecosystem for plant and animal life.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in England around 400 years ago but are now being reintroduced across the country, including last year in Enfield. This is part of a wider trend of reintroductions across England in recent years, with beaver colonies now established in Kent, Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire and Oxfordshire. Beavers are vital to helping other species to thrive, as they build dams, dig canals and create dead wood, creating and maintaining a habitat for other life to flourish such water voles, dragonflies, amphibians, birds, reptiles and fish.
Project partners will study the beavers in their new environment and monitor the effects on water and flood levels and increased biodiversity in the area.
To date, the Mayor’s Rewild London fund has provided £2.3 million to projects across the capital and has helped to create or restore around 350 hectares of wildlife habitat – the equivalent of nearly 310 football pitches – bringing nature back into the city for all to enjoy. The latest round of Rewild London funding of £710,000 is now open for bids from community groups, boroughs and charities for schemes that will increase biodiversity and create more habitats for wildlife and plants to thrive in, making the city more resilient to the impacts climate change.
A new interactive map London is Wild and Free is now available for Londoners to find out more about the improved spaces in the capital. It’s part of the Mayor’s ‘Green, Wild & Free’ campaign to encourage more Londoners to connect with nature and environmentally focused activities, making nature more accessible to all.
The Mayor believes that the need for rewilding has never been greater: the UK is in the bottom 10 per cent of countries in terms of remaining native biodiversity, and the recent ‘State of Nature’ report classified the UK as one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries – with these national declines projected to worsen*. Sadiq is committed to ensuring London leads the way in tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis by taking action to halt and reverse declines in local areas and support rewilding across the capital.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted to welcome back beavers to West London for the first time in 400 years, with the support of my Rewild London Fund. We are facing climate and ecological emergencies worldwide, but we have the power to make a difference, and I am committed to ensuring that London is at the forefront of reversing the trends of declining biodiversity and the destruction of nature.
“I’m proud that we are turning London into a wildlife haven, as well as making the city more resilient to the effects of climate change, as we work to clean up our city, re-establish lost species and reconnect people and nature, building a greener, fairer city for all Londoners. I encourage groups to apply to the fund now.”
David Mooney, CEO at London Wildlife Trust, said: “London Wildlife Trust is proud to be supporting this wonderful project to bring beavers back to Ealing. The reintroduction of this keystone species, absent in Ealing for centuries, really is going to help make London one step wilder. In the face of a climate and ecological emergency it is partnerships like this one that will give hope for nature’s recovery. At the same it will help us all recover our lost connection with the natural world.”