England’s First Wild Beavers in Centuries Can Stay

England’s first beavers to live in the wild for more than 400 years will not be evicted from a Devon river and taken to a zoo, thanks to the efforts of locals, tourists and wildlife campaigners.

But Natural England says that the approximately nine beavers living in the River Otter must be proven to be of Eurasian origin and free of disease.

The nongovernmental public body also licensed the Devon Wildlife Trust to conduct a five-year study on the returning beavers’ impact on the environment.

Results of the study could eventually lead to the reintroduction of the toothy dam builders in other waterways across England.

Beavers were hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

But last January, night-vision footage revealed that a few had set up home along the river.

Plans to remove them prompted a public outcry. If the small group of wild beavers being studied in the River Otter doesn’t pose environmental risks, the animals could later be reintroduced elsewhere in England.


Rare Red Fox Reappears in Yosemite Park

The elusive and rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in nearly a century, park officials said yesterday.

Camera traps caught the sleek animal in a remote northern corner of the park on Dec. 13, 2014, and again on Jan. 4 of this year.

here hasn’t been a verified sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox inside Yosemite National Park since 1916, said Ben Sacks, director of the University of California, Davis Veterinary School’s Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit. That year, two animals were killed in Yosemite’s Big Meadows, northeast of El Portal, for the University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Until recently, only a handful of Sierra Nevada red foxes were thought to still exist in the wild, in a remnant population near Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeastern California. The subspecies, which is genetically distinct from other red foxes, once ranged more widely, across the snowy high mountains from Oregon to California.

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