Forage Preferences of the European Beaver Castor fiber: Implications for Reintroduction

O'Connell, Mark and Atkinson, SR and Gamez, K and Pickering, SP and Dutton, JS (2008) Forage Preferences of the European Beaver Castor fiber: Implications for Reintroduction. Conservation and Society, 6 (2). pp. 190-194. ISSN 0972-4923

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Abstract

By the beginning of the twentieth century, hunting and land use change had reduced the European beaver Castor fiber to a relict population of no more than 1200 individuals. In some European states, re introduction has successfully established viable populations, whilst other schemes have failed. Environmental, social and economic issues associated with beaver reintroduction have given rise to a range of information needs in relation to the species«SQ» ecology. In 2005, six European beavers were translocated from Bavaria to a reintroduction site in southern England. The following year, a 6 month study was undertaken to investigate which tree species and size classes were most frequently utilised by the beavers, and to determine if the utilised species and size classes reflected resource availability within the home range. These questions were answered by comparing the use and the availability of foraged tree species in two ways: (1) using a survey of tree stumps; and (2) as a food choice experiment. The results showed that the reintroduced beavers were highly selective in relation to both the species and the size of the trees they used i.e. the reintroduced beavers selected species in significantly different proportions to their availability. However, they selected similar size classes between the preferred tree species, and did not utilise human timber. The relevance of the study is discussed with respect to information needs associated with the reintroduction of a keystone species, overcoming negative perceptions, population viability, welfare and soft release strategies.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: O'Connell M J, Atkinson S R, Gamez K, Pickering S P, Dutton J S. Forage Preferences of the European Beaver Castor fiber: Implications for Re-introduction. Conservation and Society 2008;6:190-4. Distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.
Uncontrolled Keywords: European Badger; Castor fiber; Foraging; Re-introduction
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Environmental Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Mark O'Connell
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2017 16:05
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 13:48
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/4917

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