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Beaver Returns to England After 500-Year Absence January 24, 2014
English beaver returns
This beaver caught by a night-vision camera is the first seen in the wild anywhere in England for 500 years.
The first wild beaver to be spotted in the U.K. since the species was hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century has set up home on a farm along the River Otter.

A farmer suspected the returning animal after spotting several trees that had been chomped on and felled along the waterway, which runs through Somerset and Devon.

That’s when retired scientist Tom Buckley set up a night-vision camera and captured footage of the animal chewing on a tree and then approaching the camera for a brief close-up.

“I’m not aware of any other wild beavers living in English countryside,” said Buckley.

Some beavers have been kept as pets, but none has been reported missing or released.

Local farmer David Lawrence told reporters that he and his wife Vicky are delighted by the returning native.

He told the Western Morning News that they have set up a tent lodge for tourists to come and view the new attraction.

It’s unclear if the beaver is alone or part of a family.

Video Stills: Tom Buckley