Page 8 - Town & Around - September 2021
P. 8

8  Town & Around September  2021                                                 Tel: 01485 540620 email: editor@townandaround.net
       FIRST BEAVER KIT BORN IN NORFOLK FOR 600 YEARS

             t the end of July, Wild Ken Hill announced that trailcams have
             captured footage of a young beaver, known as a kit, inside the
       A55-acre beaver enclosure. See photo right - the young kit is
       circled.
        The kit belongs to one of two pairs of beavers that were successfully
       reintroduced at Wild Ken Hill in 2020. Although only one beaver kit
       has been spotted to date, beavers on average produce 3 offspring,
       meaning there might be more. Wild Ken Hill has now deployed more
       cameras to establish how many kits have been born.
        Eurasian beavers were once native to Norfolk and are known as a
       keystone species or ecosystem engineers due to their presence having
       such a vital and positive impact on the local environment and
       biodiversity.
        Once common in these lands, European beavers were hunted to
       extinction for their fur, glands and meat in the 16th century. The local   enclosure. Beavers build lodges as protection from predators and will
       villages of Babingley and Flitcham have beavers on their village signs   raise their kits inside them in the first few months. Professor Richard
       at is was said that during a historic storm out in the wash, beavers   Brazier inspected the lodge at Wild Ken Hill earlier this year, stating
       guided Saint Felix to safety here in west Norfolk.   “that’s the first Beaver lodge to be built in Norfolk for 600 years”.
        Dominic Buscall, Project Manager at Wild Ken Hill hailed the news   Lloyd Park, the Conservation. Leader and Ecologist at Wild Ken
       as “an exciting step on the journey to restore beavers to East Anglia.”   Hill said it was an “historic moment”
        The footage shows a kit swimming in the territory of a pair of   Wild Ken Hill hosted BBC Springwatch 2021 and will also be
       beavers named Orange and Flow, who first met in Autumn 2020 and   featured on Autumnwatch and Winterwatch where it is hoped that
       have spent the winter and spring bonding and building dams.   further footage can be captured of the beaver family using the Natural
        In May this year, a lodge was also discovered in the beaver   History Unit’s cutting edge camera technology.

       Over 80 Eurasian Curlew chicks released at Sandringham and Wild Ken Hill
       HRH  The Prince of  Wales and Natural   of eight military and civilian airfields across
       England Chair Tony Juniper witnessed the   England, where nesting curlew presented a
       release of one of the country’s most iconic   serious risk to air safety, and transported them
       threatened species on the Royal Estate on 28th   to a new rearing facility at Pensthorpe
       July.                             Conservation  Trust near Fakenham. From
        Earlier in the month, the first release took   these eggs 84 chicks have now been released
       place at  Wild Ken Hill, following an   at Wild Ken Hill and Sandringham Estate.
       innovative Natural England-led partnership   The releases aim to expand an existing
       project to boost populations in the East of   breeding population of curlew in Breckland,
       England.                          creating a new curlew nature recovery
        The curlew is Europe’s largest wading bird   network. Some of the birds have been fitted
       and is now red-listed, meaning it is of the   with GPS or radio tags by the British Trust for   partnership towards a common aim.
       highest conservation priority, needing urgent   Ornithology (BTO), so their progress can be   "Every curlew nest is something to prize,
       action. The UK is home to roughly a quarter   monitored and information on their dispersal,   nurture and protect, and it is utterly vital that
       of the global breeding population of curlew –   habitat use and survival can be gathered.   we work together to turn this iconic bird’s
       some 58,500 pairs – but the species has                              fortunes around."
       suffered very significant declines since the                           Airfields provide the kind of open
       1970s due to loss of habitat and predation,                          grassland habitat preferred by ground-nesting
       with lowland England experiencing some of                            curlew , but due to the dangers to air safety
       the most severe declines.                                            posed by curlew nests close to runways, eggs
                                                                            were - until Natural England’s project began
                                                                            - destroyed to prevent the, potentially
                                                                            catastrophic, risk of collision between birds
                                                                            and aircraft.
                                                                              This new project, funded by Defra and
                                                                            Natural England, builds on a local and
                                                                            national partnership already in place between
                                                   Photo: Sam Franks        Natural England, Defra,  Wildfowl and
                                           HRH The Prince of Wales said:    Wetlands  Trust, Pensthorpe Conservation
                                           "I have always cherished the evocative call   Trust, British  Trust for Ornithology, the
                                         of the curlew, but it is now dangerously close   Sandringham Estate, the Ken Hill Estate,
                                         to being something that our grandchildren will   Defence Infrastructure Organisation, the RAF,
                                         never have the chance to enjoy.    Army Flying Service and USAF, bird control
                                           "I am therefore particularly delighted that   contractors such as NBC Environment and the
                                         the Sandringham Estate has been able to assist   Zoological Society of London.
                                         in a small way the recovery of this wonderful   This work is part of the England Species
       At Pensthorpe Natural Park where the eggs   bird.                    Reintroduction  Taskforce, led by Natural
         were incubated and chicks were raised.   "This initiative would not have been   England, to deliver a more ambitious
            Photo: Martin Hayward-Smith   possible without the tireless work of many   approach to reintroducing species or helping
        The project collected 106 eggs from a total   people and organisations working in   their populations recover.
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