Two baby beavers kits have been spotted in the Forest of Dean this June 2023 — making them the first beavers to be born in the forest since the 1600s.
The kits were born in April to the Greathough Brook beaver family and have been safely nestled in their underground lodge since then, with the team at Forestry England finally spotting them out and about with their mother this June 2023.
Wild beavers were hunted to extinction in the 16th century, but were reintroduced to an enclosed area at Greathough Brook in July 2018.
A new female was introduced to the group in October 2022, following the death of the previous female — since then she has been working together with the male beaver to maintain their habitat, make new dams, fell trees, groom and mate.
Beavers are known to pair for life, typically producing one litter of one to four kits each year, with this first litter being an important step forward for the group.
Assistant ecologist for Forestry England, Kate Wollen, said: 'We are delighted with this news. July will mark five years since the Greathough Brook beaver project began, and what better way to celebrate than with the birth of two baby kits.
'We are also celebrating as this year we have been given a five-year licence to continue the project.
'We will be monitoring to ensure the beavers and their new kits remain healthy, and we are excited to see the increased, positive environmental impact that the larger family will have.'
Forestry England and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are also hoping to reintroduce wild beavers to the Forest of Dean, after launching a fundraising campaign for a feasibility study this May 2023.
For more information about beavers in the Forest of Dean, visit forestryengland.uk.