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SIDMOUTH: MP urged to act over possible beaver cull

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

East Devon MP Hugo Swire has been urged to act over reports that a family of beavers living near Ottery St Mary could be culled because of the possibility that they carry a parasite. Devon County councillor for Ottery, Claire Wright, wrote to Mr Swire this week, asking for his support in protecting the animals, following reports of a possible move by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to enforce a cull. Environmentalists are concerned that the threat of a rare parasite could be used as a reason to remove the animals, which were discovered along the River Otter earlier this year. DEFRA has denied that it is considering a cull, but Councillor Wright has appealed for Mr Swire to seek assurance from the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP that the beavers would not be harmed. In the letter, she said: “It is scandalous that DEFRA may be considering killing the beavers living on the Otter, for such a suspiciously spurious reason. “I have walked that stretch of the river many times and they have not made any noticeable negative impact on the environment.” The beavers, spotted on the banks of the Otter in February, are the first of their kind to be found in England for more than 200 years. And following their discovery, the Devon Wildlife Trust urged Ottery residents to leave the animals alone. Councillor Wright added: “The beavers have been a source of delight to residents, many of whom have been concerned for the welfare of the animals, especially as the news of them living here has reached the national media. “News of a possible cull will shock residents and will cause considerable anger and opposition.”


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