A husband and wife whose garden was being vandalised at night have unmasked an unlikely, yet destructive culprit, the first wild beaver spotted in Wales, in more than 400 years. The tree-trunk gnawing rodent who is “as fat as a pig” was discovered on a hidden camera planted in the family’s garden and spent six hours a night dragging branches around.
The couple from Pembrokeshire, who wish to remain anonymous to protect the animal’s location, said: “Our trees began to go missing overnight and others were being mauled. It looked like someone was hitting them with a machete.”
For two weeks they were left baffled by the destruction of their land and finally placed a camera in their garden to catch the culprit.
The couple said: “To our astonishment, the camera showed a beaver swimming around our pond and eating our trees. We couldn’t believe it.”
This is thought to be only the fourth time a beaver has been found living wild in Britain, and this particular creature was found starting to build itself a home under the family’s pond deck.
The family has kindly nicknamed the herbivore Anthony, after the British military historian, Anthony Beevor.
The late night discovery has also baffled wildlife experts because the wild beaver population is virtually non-existent in Wales.
Alicia Leow-Dyke of the Welsh beaver project at North Wales Wildlife Trust, told the Express: “It was such a surprise to find out about the beaver. We have no idea where it came from because there are no beavers in the nearby wild or in nearby enclosures within Wales.”
“Monitoring from a distance is a safe way to see what the beaver is up to and check it is healthy and the couple should get in touch if needs be.
“Sometimes beavers like to settle in an area, but in due course it could decide it wants to move on”.
Beavers became protected in law in England in October 2022, but no such protection exists in Wales where environmental law-making is devolved.
Despite the wrecking of their garden, the couple is happy for its new guest to enjoy its adventures.
“We love watching the beaver go about his business at night. With so much habitat and food we hope it will stay long term.”