Citizen Zoo’s response to address the factual inaccuracies in the Guardian article ‘Beavers set to be released in London as part of urban rewilding’ Dated 2nd July 2021
Firstly we would like to thank Helena Horton for featuring Citizen Zoo in the recent Guardian article entitled ‘Beavers set to be released in London as part of urban rewilding’. However, we would like to draw reader attention to a number of factual inaccuracies to ensure there is no dissemination of misinformation.
The piece opens stating that:
‘Citizen Zoo plans to reintroduce animals in Tottenham as part of effort to ‘beaver up’ the capital
We would like to confirm that we have no active plans for any beaver reintroductions in Tottenham or otherwise. However we would love to see beavers embraced where appropriate within the urban landscape. With The Beaver Trust, Citizen Zoo has worked to facilitate collaboration and inclusive discussions to investigate the future of beavers within London. This has led to discussions around preparing London for the natural recolonisation of beavers as wild living populations expand and also investigate the viability of fenced beaver trials. However, this is all in its early stages and there are no significant updates at this stage. We would like to reiterate that we would be adopting an inclusive, collaborative and community based approach to any project such as this
The fourth paragraph states:
‘Citizen Zoo, a rewilding group aimed at bringing nature to urban areas, is behind the project. Volunteers from the group recently crowdfunded a release of 200 water voles in Richmond, south-west London.’
Indeed Citizen Zoo prides itself on our inclusive community driven conservation projects which aim to enhance the ecological integrity of our urban environment, and we aim to be a sector leader within the urban rewilding movement. Through our water vole reintroduction project we have successfully raised the funds and been granted permission to release 150 water voles into the Hogsmill river in Kingston (not Richmond), we believe this is the first community driven reintroduction of water voles to an urban river. We plan to release the water voles in Spring of 2022.
Paragraphs 12- 14 read as:
Citizen Zoo is trying to bring back nature across London and recently bought a farm in Kingston upon Thames.
It is hoped Tolworth Court farm will become a haven for rare animals, with releases of endangered creatures planned for the site.
The group hopes to take part in nature-friendly farming on the land, citing the Knepp estate in West Sussex, which has introduced animals including storks and beavers, as an inspiration.
Citizen Zoo does have future aspirations to help deliver large scale ecological restoration projects across London. We are currently working to secure funds to run a community consultation and feasibility study with regard to Tolworth Court Farm in Kingston. However, Tolworth Court Farm is firmly in the ownership of the local authority and Citizen Zoo has no plans to purchase the land. Citizen Zoo would look to develop this project in a collaborative and community focused way, working with the local authority and a number of other stakeholders including the Community Brain, to create one of London’s most outstanding nature reserves.
Please find a link to the crowdfunder linked to the project here: https://www.spacehive.com/rewildingpeopleandplacesintolworth#/latestPledges
Again we would like to thank the Guardian for featuring Citizen Zoo and raising awareness of our aspirations to deliver community driven rewilding projects across the UK and in the urban landscape. We would greatly welcome any support that the Guardian can offer to raise awareness of our community crowdfunding campaign to increase the likelihood of success and realisation of this exciting vision.