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Bringing Back the Beaver by Derek Gow

As a priest, I am passionate about caring for our planet and our wonderful creation. I was delighted to come across this book by farmer and nature conservationist, Derek Gow, who has played a key role in the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver to the UK.

Although these animals were originally native to Britain, their re-introduction has been viewed by some with trepidation and concern. Read Derek’s Gow account of why this is unfounded. They have a truly beneficial effect on their environment through gnawing on stems, coppicing trees and the subsequent regrowth providing homes for more insects and birds. They provide a natural way of resulting in more constant water flows and retention of water during droughts, which we are likely to see more of due to climate change.

Beavers sadly became extinct in the 16th century, mainly due to hunting of their fur, meat, and castoreum, a secretion used in perfumes, food and medicine, but fortunately due to conservationists like Gow, using learnings form other successful re-introductions throughout Europe, their future is looking a bit more optimistic. 

A serious matter, Gow infuses his book with plenty of humour as well and his resilience and dedication to the wildlife beaver project is palpable in these pages. I was particularly humoured by the reference to a “beaver Bishop” in his tale of the almost drowning of St Felix of Burgundy in the River Babingley in Norfolk, AD615. He was fortunately saved by a colony of beavers and crowned one as a Bishop!

If you are in any doubt as to the importance of these wonderful, intelligent and diligent animals and the impact and benefits of their building habits to our dwindling natural landscapes, read on!

- The Rev’d Dr Jenny McKay

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Posted on October 27th 2022

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