Species of the week #3 -the beaver

The beaver is one of the few animal species that have developed very well since the last Red List was drawn up. The European beaver was still considered extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate in the last decade. Due to hunting in particular, its population was historically low and recently completely extinct. Through committed reintroduction projects in France and Belgium, the population there has stabilized. Young beavers migrate from there in search of a new home through cross-border waters such as the Rhine, Moder, Blies and Schwarzbach back to Rhineland-Palatinate. Currently there are beaver families in the Hunsrück, in the Westerwald, near Zweibrücken and near Bad Dürkheim. In Bavaria, the population has even recovered so well that the beaver has been completely taken off the Red List.

Distribution status          Extremely rare, but rising trend
Remaining deposits Westerwald, Schwarzbach, Bad Dürkheim,
Last sightning in Rhineland-Palatinate Current sightings
Habitat Slowly flowing waters with strong riparian vegetation


In the past: hunting, today: construction projects near the shore

The beaver is dependent on slowly flowing waters with riverside vegetation similar to alluvial forest made of willow, ash, birch or alder to build its beaver lodge. It is very loyal to its habitat and only changes its territory in absolute emergencies. Young animals migrate if the family becomes too big. The entrance to the beaver lodge should be protected under the water surface, therefore the beaver tries to dam up water and to create a beaver lake if the water level seems too low to him. Here it can come to conflicts with flood protection, agriculture and buildings in direct water proximity. However, due to distance regulations and protective measures, serious problems are rare. By building dams, the beaver keeps more water in the area and actively helps with flood protection.

Politically necessary:

  • No building permits in flood protection areas and in the immediate vicinity of water bodies
  • Consistent adherence to watercourse margins, ideally 20 m for beaver deposits
  • Financial compensation for farmers for riparian strips

further information about the beaver www.biber-rlp.de

picture: Biberzentrum Rheinland-Pfalz of GNOR e.V.

An overview of all species of the week can be found here.