Beavers in Bridgend?

It's Monday afternoon and I wonder what we have in store for our first Freshwater Biology lecture?  How about Rob Parry from the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales coming in and discussing the potential Welsh reintroduction of Beavers. I got my note book out and sat excitedly waiting for the visitor to come and I was not disappointed.

Beaver at River Edge

Beaver at River Edge

In our three hour lecture we learned so much. Where beavers live and how they help the biodiversity of the area, why they became extinct in the UK and how they plan to reintroduce them into the wilds of Wales. Rob even gave us the opportunity to voice our opinion on how the public consultation should be handled giving us all a confidence boost that the course we are doing and the sector  we want to work in, can really make a difference.

I went away from the lesson very eager for the next visit when Rob would lecture on Otters. Monday soon came and with the weather looking good we quickly ran through Otters, their habitat and signs to look out for, including having a big sniff at some Otter spraint (poo).

We donned our wellies and headed for the river. We started at a tunnel under the main road and were lucky enough to find a recent small spraint. Yes, they are in this area, result! We carried on up the river and found some juvenile tracks in the mud.

I left that week’s lesson motivated and positive that the conservation work we had being doing on college grounds must have been working for this beautiful elusive creature to pick our river as its home. Just one more week with Rob and we decided to try a different end of the river.  We found a potential abandoned Otter Holt and some poo from the invasive but ingenious American Mink. I felt my time spent with Rob gave me the skills to look for signs of Otter and Mink in any river I visit and the confidence that a job in the conservation sector can help our beloved wildlife.

Amy Owens, student at Bridgend College studying HND Environmental Conservation Management.

Contact Jeff Roberts for more details and an application form.