The Sanctuary welcomes new adorable residents as the beaver sister pair make their splash debut

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary team is incredibly excited to finally announce their "Secret Creek" project which will be taking place in the large woodland area of the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary have welcomed two rescued young beaver sisters from Scotland as their new residents!
These two girls had to make an epic journey down to the Sanctuary as they were rescued by Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer in Scotland and for a short period were then in the care of Five Sister Zoo in West Calder, where they underwent health screening procedures.
Jenny Bryce, NatureScot Wildlife Ecology Manager, said: "We´re very pleased to be able to help with this project by licensing the re-location of beavers from Scotland to Cornwall. Beavers can have hugely positive impacts on nature and people, creating habitats such as ponds and wetlands where other species thrive, as well as moderating water flows and improving water quality. We wish the Cornish Seal Sanctuary every success and look forward to supporting similar projects elsewhere to realise the many benefits that beavers can provide."

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 castoreum, a musky secretion, thought to contain medicinal properties.

Beavers are "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 native wildlife conservation is at the heart of all the Sanctuary´s efforts, they have 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.

The Sanctuary´s old otter enclosure has been repurposed and updated to create a new "Beaver Nursery" for the pair, where they will spend their first few months settling in, with the team keeping a close eye on their behaviour and eating habits.

Once they have reached a good healthy weight and have the capability of building their own shelters and dams, they will be moved to their brand-new home in the large 5km2 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 team are 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 will mainly focus on monitoring water quality 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 observe these mammals. The aim of the "The Secret Creek" area at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is to provide engaging educational content for visitors to learn about these enigmatic animals. Returning guests will see landscape changes happening over time, while there is always the possibility to catch a glimpse of the beaver sisters hard at work.

The Secret Creek project at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary would never be possible without the help and support of other organisations.    From licensing, rescue, transport and care for these beaver sisters, it has been a journey for all.

Natural England has provided all necessary licensing to keep beavers at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Chris Jones, director of The Beaver Trust was invaluable support through the whole project development, sharing information and advice on successfully managed beaver reintroduction.

Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer, beaver ecologist and practitioner, rescued and transported the beavers to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, while working closely with Five Sister Zoo in West Calder for their initial care and vet checks. 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.
Dr Campbell-Palmer said "It is pretty special when we see beavers go off into their new homes and it just makes it all worthwhile."

The 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.

Press Release issued by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Georgina Shannon on 01326 221 361
Issue Date: 15th March 2021