Eager beaver rescued after getting lost on Kent beach

The lost rodent - dubbed 'Justin Beaver' - is the second spotted in a week at Sandwich Bay.

A beaver that was spotted on the loose on a beach in Kent has sparked a rescue mission over concerns for its welfare.

Local resident Lindsey Gray spotted the lost rodent – which she dubbed 'Justin Beaver' – at Sandwich Bay while she was on her way to the shops. She alerted the authorities over concern for the beaver’s safety, as they typically live in freshwater areas such as rivers, streams, and lochs – and overexposure to saltwater can quickly prove fatal.

Gray said that she knew the beaver “shouldn’t be there” and contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) for help. While she waited an hour for the experts to turn up, Gray said she saw the animal go up to the water “as if he knew he needed to swim back home” – but it didn’t venture in.

The search is on for the beaver that was spotted in Sandwich Bay, Kent. (SWNS)
The search is on for a beaver that was spotted in Sandwich Bay, Kent. (SWNS)

During this time, Gray developed an attachment to the animal, later nicknaming him Justin. She said that despite her two dogs in the car, Justin Beaver seemed unflustered by them.

She said: “The beaver wasn’t perturbed by my two dogs in the car. They weren’t barking but I’m sure he could have smelt them. He came right up to the car twice.”

The beaver was close to saltwater, which can be life-threatening. (SWNS)
The beaver was close to saltwater, which can be life-threatening. (SWNS)

When experts arrived on the scene, they patiently waited for the beaver to fall asleep before safely trapping it. The animal was rescued and transported to Wildwood, a woodland park in Kent. It may be sent to the RSPCA for further care.

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More beavers rescued

This is the second beaver to be discovered on a Kent beach in less than a week. On 17 March, a beaver was rescued from Sandwich Bay after ingesting saltwater and getting into difficulty. It was taken to the vet, where the salt was washed out of its fur, and then transported to the RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity explained that young, curious beavers sometimes venture out of their family lodges to explore, but end up getting washed down the river and out to sea. Many then end up in difficulty and ingest saltwater, which can cause them to lose their lives.

The beaver wasn’t perturbed by two dogs in the car nearby. (SWNS)
The beaver wasn’t perturbed by two dogs in the car nearby. (SWNS)
The beaver was later rescued and cared for. (SWNS)
The beaver was later rescued and cared for. (SWNS)

How many beavers are there in the UK?

The number of beavers – which are the second largest rodent in the world after capybaras – in the UK only amounts to around 400 animals, according to the Woodland Trust. They were hunted to extinction in England around 400 years ago, but reintroduction efforts have meant their colonies can now be found in Kent, Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire and Oxfordshire.

In October last year, beavers were returned to west London for the first time in around 400 years in an attempt to improve the capital’s biodiversity. It is hoped the beavers will help turn the location into a flourishing wetland, making for an improved ecosystem in which plants and animals can thrive.

Meanwhile, beavers are set to return to the Cairngorms for the first time in 400 years after a licence was granted for their release in December last year. NatureScot approved an application from the Cairngorms National Park Authority to release up to six beaver families at agreed sites in the upper River Spey catchment in the first year of the initiative, with further additional releases over the next five years.

The Scottish government has formally recognised beavers as a native species – but they are yet to receive legal protection and can be culled by landowners without regulation.

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