One of the two Eurasian beavers that had been reintroduced into Britain after going extinct 400 years ago has died.
A male and female pair of beavers were released at a country park in Enfield, north London, three months ago as part of a scheme to reintroduce the animals into the UK.
Eurasian beavers were once widespread in Europe and Asia but were hunted to near extinction, with only around 1,200 believed to have survived across both continents at the turn of the 20th century.
Beavers have made a comeback in the UK over the last decade, with several hundred living in Scotland and smaller groups in England and Wales.
In March this year, a male taken from Yorkshire and a female from Scotland were released into Forty Hall Farm.
It was hoped the pair would mate, but on Friday it emerged the male was found dead and had passed away from natural causes.
A spokesperson for Enfield Council said: “We are saddened and sorry to confirm one of the two beavers at Forty Hall Farm has died. The results of a post mortem have confirmed that the male beaver died of natural causes.
“In conjunction with experts the beaver enclosure was designed and built to the highest standards to meet Natural England’s requirements in order to obtain the requisite licence.
“These experts are confident that the environment that has been created is good.
“We also have a stringent monitoring programme in place that observes the health of the animals within the enclosure, food and water supply, topography and other environmental factors."
A hunt is now on to find another suitable male beaver to become a companion for the female, who is ‘safe and well’, according to the council.
The spokesperson added: “The council continues to work with these partners to ensure the health and wellbeing of any beavers contained within the enclosure remain of the uppermost importance.
“It is our intention to find a suitable replacement beaver as soon as it is feasible. Enfield Council is in discussions in respect to another beaver release at the appropriate season.
“This will also give us time to make some adjustments to the enclosure to further enhance the conditions for the inhabitants.
“In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the remaining female beaver as closely as possible without disturbing her or the habitat.
“We can confirm that on-the-ground observations and video footage show she is safe and well and is settling in happily.”
Featured Image Credit: SWNS/Enfield Council