Baby beaver is named after Marcus Rashford

It’s Marcus Gnashford! First baby beaver to be born on Exmoor in 400 years is named Rashford after the England footballer

  • The first baby beaver born on Exmoor for 400 years  named Marcus Rashford
  • Animal seen on camera on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset
  • There were more than 500 suggestions for a name for the new arrival  this month

The first baby beaver born on Exmoor for 400 years has been named after the England football star Marcus Rashford.

The young beaver, known as a kit, which was born around six weeks ago before being captured on camera on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset earlier this week, was named after the striker after a public poll on social media.

More than 500 suggestions for a name for the new arrival – a baby to mother Grylls and father Yogi – were narrowed down to four options by rangers at Holnicote, before being put to a vote.

Some 2,800 people took part in the ballot, with half the votes placed for ‘Rashford’ in honour of the footballer.      

The first baby beaver born on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset has been named after the England football star Marcus Rashford

The  young beaver, known as a kit, was captured on camera on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate earlier this week

The name Banksy, after the artist who hails from the region, came in second place with 17 per cent of the vote, while Hope and Pip both scored 16 per cent. 

The vote came after footage from a static camera which captured the kit swimming with its mother back to the family lodge, while she stopped to nibble a branch, became a hit when it was released to the public on Tuesday.

Ben Eardley, project manager for the National Trust on the Holnicote Estate, said: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed with the interest in the latest addition to our beaver family.

‘It’s fantastic that so many people are just as excited as we are that our project to reintroduce beavers to this special landscape has been such a success.

‘Rashford is a brilliant choice for this new addition to the family – and reminds people of a moment in this country’s footballing history after an amazing tournament for the England team.

‘The kit, the first to be born on Exmoor in 400 years, gives us hope for future generations.’

Footage showed the six-week-old kit swimming with its mother, back to the family lodge, while she stopped to nibble a branch

More than 500 suggestions were given for a name for the new arrival  and some 2,800 people took part in the ballot

The sighting of the baby animal comes just 18 months after the conservation charity undertook its first licensed enclosed release of two Eurasian beavers in its 125-year history. 

This week Jack Siviter, one of the rangers on the Holnicote estate said: ‘We first had an inkling that our pair of beavers had mated successfully when the male started being a lot more active building and dragging wood and vegetation around the site in late spring.

‘The female also changed her usual habits, and stayed out of sight, leaving the male to work alone.

‘It was then several weeks until we spotted her again, and this is when our suspicions were confirmed that she had given birth, due to having very visible teats.

‘We are particularly pleased for our female, nicknamed Grylls due to her survival instincts, as she didn’t have the easiest start to life being orphaned at an early age.

 ‘As a first time mum she seems to be thriving and it’s great to see her with her new kit.

‘The family should now stay together for the next two years before the kit will naturally want to go off to create a new territory of its own.’  

The once-native semi-aquatic mammals are making a return to Britain after being hunted to extinction for their fur, glands and meat in the 16th century.

In 2001, two families of Norwegian beavers were released in Kent to help maintain wetlands that were hard to reach with machinery and in 2009, the Scottish Government approved a trial reintroduction at Knapdale, Argyll. 

Meanwhile in 2011, a pair of juvenile beavers were released in a three-hectare fenced enclosure in northern Devon and in November last year beavers built their first dam in Exmoor in more than 400 years after river restoration by the National Trust.

Beavers, who are described as nature’s engineers, use their teeth to fell trees and divide them up into smaller branches before building dams. 

It is believed the mammal’s activities could increase biodiversity, while filtering and cleaning water.

The dams could even reduce flooding by slowing the rate of water passing through rivers and streams during storms.   

One of the first beavers to be released into the wild in Britain in 400 years is run over by car and killed

One of the first beavers to be released into the wild in Britain in 400 years was run over by a car and killed earlier this month.

Eurasian beavers Beryl and Brian were the first release of beavers anywhere in the UK when they took up residence at the Forder Valley Nature Reserve.   

But Beryl was tragically killed in a car crash after her home city of Plymouth, Devon, suffered horrendous flash flooding.

Plymouth City Council confirmed that Beryl managed to escape from her enclosure and was subsequently believed to have been hit by a car.

Heavy rain and flooding had caused significant damage to the beaver enclosure fence which allowed the two to escape.

Male beaver Brian was found safe – but Beryl was hit by a vehicle on Forder Valley Road on July 5.

Eurasian beavers Beryl (pictured) and Brian were the first urban release of beavers anywhere in the UK when they took up residence at the Forder Valley Nature Reserve

Plymouth City Council said: ‘We are deeply sad to report that Beryl, our female beaver, escaped from her enclosure on Sunday night and has been found dead.

‘Following the extremely heavy overnight rain on Sunday morning and the resulting current of the river, our teams arrived on Sunday morning to find a lot of damage to the beaver enclosure fence.

‘Repairs were carried out repairs on Sunday when water levels dropped to a safe level but unfortunately there was more damage below the water line which allowed both beavers to escape through at some point on Sunday night.

‘The team have identified where Brian, our male beaver, has found refuge and they are currently working to capture him and bring him back to a safe location.

‘But sadly we think that Beryl made her way to the Forder Valley Nature Reserve and was hit by a car on Forder Valley Road at around 3.30am. 

‘We continue to work with the expert team of advisers who have guided the project from its inception and will now take some time to review the situation and decide what is best for Brian going forward.

‘We are all really upset and we know that many residents who have been following Brian and Beryl’s progress will be equally distressed about this news.’

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