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Trapping wild beavers in Devon would be illegal, FoE warns

London: The environmental charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) has warned that government's plan to trap wild beavers living in Devon could be illegal under European laws.

The legal team of FoE has already send a letter to environment secretary Liz Truss, calling for the trapping and capturing of the animals, thought to be the first to live in the wild in England in centuries, to be stopped.

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), River Otter beavers could be carrying disease and wants to test and rehome them in captivity.

The 3 beavers, supposed to be two adults and a juvenile, were first reported to be living on the river in the summer of 2013, however no date has been set for trapping them.

The European Habitats Directive makes it clear that beavers are a protected species when in their natural range and they bring benefits to the environment, boosting fish stocks, biodiversity and reducing flooding, campaigner Alasdair Cameron said.

However, a Defra spokesperson said beavers have not been an established part of our wildlife for the last 500 years. Their presence may have a negative impact on the surrounding wildlife and environment and they might carry a disease which could pose a risk to human health.