The Cornish Seal Sanctuary team is incredibly excited about their "Secret Creek" project which is taking place in the large woodland area of the Sanctuary.
Conservationists and beaver re-wilding campaigners across Britain are now trialling many projects, bringing beavers into managed environments to study their impact on nature.
Wild beavers had been living in Great Britain over 400 years ago before going extinct. They were mainly hunted for their fur and glandular oil, secreted from the base of their tail, thought to contain medicinal properties.
Beavers are known as a "keystone species". This is because their natural behaviour has a big impact on our landscape and wildlife. By damming waterways, beavers pool water, slowing the flow in rivers and streams. This water floods an area, creating new wetland and attracting wildlife, providing a home and water source for many species.
As wildlife conservation is at the heart of all the Sanctuary´s efforts, they had paired up with various conservation groups across the country to decide on the best use of the large woodland area at the Sanctuary. It was quickly decided that beavers would make an excellent addition to the Sanctuary, providing them with the perfect habitat which will in return open doors to research to further study their impact on the environment.
In 2021 the Sanctuary´s old Otter enclosure was repurposed and updated to create a new "Beaver Nursery" for the first pair, where they spent their first few months settling in, with the team keeping a close eye on their behaviour and eating habits.
Once they had reached a good healthy weight and had the capability of building lodges and dams, they were moved to their brand-new home in the large 5 km2 wooded area behind the "Beaver Nursery" to live a natural beaver life. "The Secret Creek" project would not have been possible without the vital funding provided by the Postcode Local Trust.
The Sanctuary were planning various research projects to understand more about beaver behaviour in the wild and how they impact the environment they inhabit. It is known that their presence is beneficial and may even help to combat climate change.
The projects would mainly focus on monitoring water pollution and impact of damming, biodiversity counts, landscape changes and public perception on beaver rewilding which in return will generate educational content to share with guests visiting the Seal Sanctuary.
Beavers are very secretive creatures, mostly active during the night, which makes it difficult for the public to engage with these mammals. The aim of the "The Secret Creek" area at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary was to provide engaging educational content for visitors to learn about these enigmatic animals. Returning guests would see landscape changes happening over time, while there is always the possibility to catch a glimpse of the beaver sisters hard at work.
Introduction to the Woodland Area
You may be wondering why the Cornish Seal Sanctuary have decided to introduce Beavers to the woodland area, so let´s take you back to the beginning.
Beavers are native to Britain and were once common in our countryside, but they were regularly hunted by humans and became extinct over 400 years ago. The last wild beaver seen on record was during the 16th Century.
Beavers were hunted by humans for several reasons; their fur was used for hats and coat linings, their meat was eaten and they were also prized for a special substance called "castoreum". This substance is made in special sacs near the beaver´s bottoms. It is used by beavers, along with urine, to mark their territories, but it smells of vanilla and humans used it for perfumes and as a flavouring for food.
Our nature is in crisis. Due to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive species we are losing important species. In 2016 research showed that 56% of the U.K.´s wild species have declined in the last 50 years, with one in ten facing extinction.
One habitat which has really suffered in the U.K. is wetland habitat. We have seen a loss of 90% of wetland in the last century. Ponds and lakes are some of the most species-rich habitats in Britain. Plants, birds, insects, fish, amphibians, mammals: lots of animals use wetland habitats meaning they are really important to our countryside. Now, 10% of species which use wetland habitat are facing extinction.
In March 2021 Tamara Cooper, the Sanctuary´s Curator, said "Once our beaver sister pair is released into their new 5 km2 home we will closely monitor their progress and landscape changes. Our desire is to conduct extensive research on biodiversity counts as the environment changes and water quality to see what impact dams have on water pollution. This research will provide us with valuable information which could support future rewilding projects across the country!"
This Project wouldn´t had happened without the help of...
"The Secret Creek" project at the Sanctuary would never be possible without the help and support of other organisations. From licensing, rescue, transport and care for these beavers, it has been a journey for all.
Natural England has provided all necessary licensing to keep beavers at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.
The Beaver Trust and Chris Jones, Farmer and Director of Restoration, were invaluable support through the whole project development, sharing information and advice on how successfully managed beaver re-introduction.
Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, beaver ecologist and practitioner, rescued and transported the first two beavers to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, while working closely with Five Sister Zoo in West Calder for their initial care and vet checks and later with Derek Gow Consultancy for their temporary housing. Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer and her colleague, Robert Needham, were also integral in conducting a feasibility study on "The Secret Creek" area at the Sanctuary to assess suitability of the habitat for the beavers.
Postcode Local Trust for funding "The Secret Creek" project.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary are thrilled to be able to provide a home for their two rescued beaver sisters and welcome their amazing contribution by landscaping the Sanctuary´s woodland to benefit a vast amount of wildlife and species in the future.
Life begins for current and future Beavers!
The Beavers are given a second chance, and this is just the beginning of their story...The Cornish Seal Sanctuary needs your help to ensure we can provide expert care to the rescued Beavers, carry out the vital ecological projects and introduce an exciting visitors centre. The centre will provide engaging educational content for visitors to learn about these amazing animals, and returning guests will see landscape changes, and can even spot the beavers hard at work.
How can you Help Us to Help Them?
Any donation big or small will go such a long to help support this amazing new beaver adventure, that will benefit so many for the future.
The Secret Creek - Interesting Facts
Click here to see a selection of photos of the Beavers via our flickr account.
SANCTUARY WELCOMES BABY BEAVERS FOR FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS!
9th January 2024
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is starting 2024 with three new additions as it welcomes a family of young Eurasian beavers to Secret Creek for the first time in two years. The kits, who are less than a year old, arrived at the Sanctuary as orphans after being translocated by the Beaver Trust.
MEET THE SANCTUARY´S LATEST AMBASSADOR
10th May 2021
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary are absolutely over the moon to introduce you all to their latest addition to the Sanctuary´s Ambassadors´ family, Meet Nina Constable!
On 15th March 2021 during the Country´s National Lockdown, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary were incredibly excited to announce two rescued beaver sisters from Scotland had now moved into the "Beaver Nursery".
It was a big "Thank you" to the Maintenance Team who had done an amazing job in transforming the Otter enclosure into a "Beaver Nursery".
January 2022 - Lets welcome the three new orphaned beaver kits from Scotland to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary on 6th January 2022.
April 2022 - On the 28th of April 2022 the Sanctuary were thrilled to announce that Hamish, one of the orphaned beavers, was moved to his new home! Click here to read the Press Release.
3rd October 2022 - Scruff and Maple have moved to a new home with the Wildwood Trust in Canterbury, Kent, as part of an ongoing conservation project to support beaver populations and rewilding initiatives across Britain. Click here to read the Press Release.
6th October 2022 - Busy Beavers built a dam within just 48 hours after experiencing heavy rainfall overnight which wasted away! Click here to read more.
February 2023 - The Beaver are still being very busy maintaining their large dam in the last couple of months as well as plenty of felling action! They are almost through felling one of the trees, located a few metres up from their lodge Click here to read more.
October 2023 - Exciting news! Barbara and Norbert, the Beavers, have finished their rehabilitation with the Cornish Seal Sanctuary! They will remain in the Beaver Nursery until the Beaver Trust can collect them and translocate them to their forever home. Click here to read more.
January 2024 - The Cornish Seal Sanctuary just welcomed the new arrivals earlier this month in the Beaver Nursery, there are three Beaver Kits that arrived from Scotland.
The Kits only arrived recently, so the team are focusing on making sure they are so comfortable as possible. If they are active during your visit, please do try and keep the noise levels to a minimum.
Click here to see larger version of these photos taken on 26th January 2024.
13th February 2024 - A HUGE thank you to everyone who took part in the "Name the Beaver Competition".
We can now reveal the new Beaver kits´ names are...ASPEN, BUTTERCUP and SORRELL!
Congratulations to the winners, Faye Tippler, Marie Crawley and Corrina Bentley, who chose Beavers´ Fantastic new names.
The kits will be moving into the main enclosure in the next few weeks, so be sure to come and say hi soon!
Fancy adopting one of the new Beaver kits? Click here to get started.