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Last Updated: Thursday October 27 2005 06:20 GMT

Beavers' comeback after 500 years

One of the beavers being released into the wild
Beavers are back in the UK countryside for the first time in 500 years.

Six beavers are being reintroduced in Gloucestershire to try to bring the furry creature back.

They became extinct around five decades ago because man hunted them for their thick fur and because their glands were used in medicines.

The six little beasts were caught in Bavaria and have been checked out before they're released into the wild. It's hoped they will have babies.

These beavers will only be allowed to roam around a small site for now so animal experts can keep an eye on them.

Beavers
One of the beavers in its box
Their noses and ears close up so they can survive underwater for a long time
They have big tails which act as 'rudders' to help them swim
Their teeth never stop growing!
They have to permanently chew on wood to stop their teeth getting too long

But it's hoped the fences around the area will be taken down soon so they can wander wherever they like.

There are lots of beavers in America, and some environmentalists there say the creatures damage their surroundings as they eat and chew a lot.

But it's hoped they will have a positive effect in the UK where they can help keep streams and rivers clear. They are also vegetarians so they won't eat loads of important fish stocks.



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