A sweet little beaver eating an orange in Aqua Freshwater-Center.
I haven't yet seen the beavers in Klosterheden. It's a rather long walk.
In 1999 six beaver-families - in all 18 beavers were released in six places in Flynder Å (small river ), which runs through Klosterheden Statsskovdistrikt near the town Lemvig in Northwest Jutland. (south of Limfjorden). The beavers came from the river Elbe in Germany, since the animals from here are closest related to the beavers, which once lived in Denmark. The population has grown each year - counting from spring 2009 shows there are estimated 121 beavers in Denmark. They have spread to other areas and were observed as far to the south of Jutland as Husby Sø and Nørresø west of Ulfborg. (near Ringkøbing fjord). Furthermore has the Skov- og Naturstyrelsen acknowledged release of beavers in Arresø and surrounding area in North Zealand in 2009-2010.
In spite of that Denmark's nature has changed since the beaver disappeared from the country more than a thousand years ago, there are many places where the beaver will find good habitats. Wet areas have been recreated, where the beaver will get an important role and raise the quality of those areas. The beaver was through several thousand years spread all over Europe, but caused by hunting, cultivating and draining it became almost extinct. About 100 years ago were only 700 European beavers left. The beaver was now listed, and in many places in Europe it was released in areas , where it had lived before. Thanks to the great effort to save the beaver the population has grown. Today are 500.00-700.000 beavers in Europe.
The beaver plays a central role in nature, and in a decisive way it influences the nature, which it is a part of. It takes part in recreating a nature , which is closer to the original nature. The beaver creates a variation, which we humans cannot create ourselves. Moist forest-spots, small lakes, dead wood in the forest and wet areas and glades in thick willow scrub are examples of, what the beaver gives back to our nature. These habitats are often lacking in the Danish nature, and they are important habitats for many of our endangered plant- and animal-species. It is first of all because of the beaver's positive influence on our nature that it was released in Denmark after many years of exile.
The beavers' clearing willow scrub in the ravines of Klosterhede will produce a positive effect on the flora. The light-demanding species, which have been shadowed by the thick scrub, will get a chance again. The small lakes created by the beaver-dams will become good habitats for amphibians, insects and birds. After some years, when there is no more food in the area, the beavers will leave it, and the dam will fall into decay. Where once was water, will now be a so-called beaver-meadow, where new plant-societies will arrive. Nature will become dynamic.
Source: Magazine Natur og Miljø; Skov- og Naturstyrelsen; Klosterheden Statsskovdistrikt.
photos from Aqua Freshwater-Center in Silkeborg, Jutland, March 2009: grethe bachmann