A LITTER of beaver kits have been born in Dorset with conservation officers saying it is an ‘extremely positive’ sign for the species.
The two new kits were born at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s enclosed beaver site in west Dorset, bringing the family total to two adults and five kits.
Conservation officers spotted the young kits after closely monitoring the site throughout the spring and summer.
To ensure the welfare of the animals, a four-hectare enclosed site has a complex habitat to support the extended beaver family.
The beaver kits were born in springtime and spent their first month within the safety of the ‘lodge’, an underground chamber and burrow system.
Beavers are born with the ability to swim and they emerge between dusk and dawn in early summer to explore the wetland surroundings.
Rivers conservation officer, Steve Oliver, said: "This discovery is such exciting news.
“Breeding is a clear indication that the beavers we introduced to site are healthy and happy in their Dorset home.
“The adult pair originally released back in February 2021 settled in from the word go, building dams and modifying the existing freshwater habitat to suit their needs.
“The building of a lodge and now the subsequent raising of two sets of kits is really encouraging.
“Beavers are a keystone species and the complex biodiverse wetlands they create by doing what comes naturally to them, can benefit many other forms of wildlife."
Eurasian beavers used to be native to Dorset and are known as ‘nature’s ecosystem engineers’, due to their positive impact on the environment such as dam building.
Beavers can also reduce flooding by slowing the rate of water during intense rainfall.
However, European beavers were hunted to near-extinction in the 16th century for their fur, glands, and meat.
The Dorset Beaver Project, run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, began in 2021 and has been initially licenced for five years, ending in 2025.
The site scientifically studies the behaviour and activities of beavers, and how they can improve the habitat in which they live.