Residents of Little Paxton cannot fail to have noticed the large number of trees of all sizes that have “fallen" over the last winter, particularly along the river and around the lakes in Paxton Pits Nature Reserve. Many of us have blamed the weather or the District Council for being over zealous in their Health and Safety procedures. However, I am pretty sure that the damage is being caused by beavers. I have enclosed a photo of a tree stump showing clear signs of gnawing, not sawing.
In February, The Guardian noted that wild beavers were in residence on the River Otter in Devon and there are suggestions that the Great Fen Project and Wicken Fen would both make suitable sites for re-introductions here in Cambridgeshire. I think it may have already happened.
My question's are;
- Who authorised the introduction of these animals? and,
- Where were they released?
The public are excluded from the entire northern end of Paxton Pits and this has led to a lot of speculation in the villages of Little Paxton and Diddington about what is is happening there. Were the beavers released at Paxton Pits, or somewhere else on the river? Maybe beavers are just the beginning, and we can expect wild boars and even wolves and bears in the future. Or are they already here too?
I asked the Rangers at Paxton Pits about this matter, and the fact that a lot of the cats in the village have disappeared recently and was told that this was due to an eagle owl that had arrived on the Reserve. Now, while I consider myself to be a countryman and like wildlife in general, I am deeply concerned at the prospect of large, predatory animals so close to my home.
Perhaps some of your readers have their own sightings to report?