The 6-week-old beaver, known as a kit, has been named Rashford in honor of Manchester United soccer player Marcus Rashford

By Naledi Ushe
July 15, 2021 10:17 PM
Baby beaver born in Exmoor
Baby beaver born in Exmoor
| Credit: National Trust/Twitter

The Exmoor National Park in England has discovered its first baby beaver born native to the area in 400 years.

The baby beaver, known as a kit, was recently found on the Holnicote Estate in Somerset, National Trust, a conservation charity that runs the historic site within the park, announced on Monday.

Footage captured by a static camera showed the 6-week-old kit swimming on its mom's back.

Following the adorable discovery, the National Trust created a survey to determine a name for the kit, who was born to a beaver nicknamed Grylls.

After receiving over 500 suggestions, the organization narrowed it down to four names — Hope, Rashford, Banksy and Pip — and had their Twitter followers vote for baby beaver's officials moniker.

Eurasian beavers released
| Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty

In the end, Rashford — a nod to Manchester United soccer player Marcus Rashford — won out with a 49 percent of the votes.

"As nature's engineers, beavers can help tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis. We hope to watch Rashford thrive in the future, and Marcus is welcome to visit any time," the National Trust said on its Twitter.

Beavers were once native to Exmoor, but they were hunted to extinction in area during the 16th century.

The National Trust reintroduced beavers back into the area in 2020 and since then, the mammals have "been playing a new and vital role in watercourse and flood management on the estate and creating an environment that is attracting more wildlife and diversity of species," according to a press release from the organization.

"We first had an inkling that our pair of beavers had mated successfully when the male started being a lot more active building and dragging wood and vegetation around the site in late spring," Jack Siviter, one of the rangers on the Holnicote Estate, said in a statement.

"The female also changed her usual habits, and stayed out of sight, leaving the male to work alone," Siviter continued, adding that their suspicions of a baby beaver were confirmed after seeing physical features on Grylls indicating that she had recently given birth.

According to the ranger, Grylls is "thriving" as a new mother and "it's great to see her with her new kit."

"The family should now stay together for the next two years before the kit will naturally want to go off to create a new territory of its own," added Siviter.

Eurasian beavers released
| Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty

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Since their introduction back into Exmoor, beavers have also dramatically changed the ecosystem for the better, according to National Trust project manager Ben Eardley.

"The transformation of the habitat has been remarkable. To go from dry unmanaged woodland to a more open wetland complex in such a short time has not only boosted the variety of wildlife that we're seeing on the estate, but also numbers," Eardley said in a statement. 

"This is really important because the beaver are doing a lot of what we want to see in terms of conservation and land management," Eardley added. "They are letting the light and the water into the site, helping natural processes and providing opportunities for a host of other wildlife."