Nature 1 July 2014 The government is capturing wild beavers for the first time in centuries Beavers are the new badgers as the government's decision to trap England's wild beavers causes outrage among wildlife lovers. A beaver in Germany. Photo: Getty Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Beavers. They're the ones who build dams and have tails that look like scaly ping-pong bats. They are very resourceful creatures who usually appear in fiction as industrious yet cosy folk, just hanging out, working on their dams and paddling with efficiency. Tory values, really. Ironic then that the government has decided to capture and house in a zoo England's first wild family of beavers in about 500 years. The beavers live somewhat confusingly in a place called the River Otter, which is in Devon, and were first spotted in February this year in video footage captured by a local environmental scientist. Defra minister George Eustice told parliament yesterday: "We intend to recapture and rehome the wild beavers in Devon and are currently working out plans for the best way to do so. All decisions will be made with the welfare of the beavers in mind. There are no plans to cull beavers." But campaign group 38 Degrees has started a petition called "SAVE THE FREE BEAVERS OF ENGLAND" to send to the department, which states, "The beaver was hunted to extinction and we have a duty to bring them back to our rivers." Here's the original footage of the family: Here are some beavers: A North American beaver. Photo: Getty North American beavers. Photo: Getty A beaver in Germany. Photo: Getty A Scottish beaver. Photo: Paul Stevenson/Getty A beaver in Germany. Photo: Getty A beaver in Oregon. Photo: Bill Damon/Flickr › Councils aren't just about growth; we must remember their less glamorous services Anoosh Chakelian is the New Statesman’s Britain editor. Subscribe For the latest TV, art, films and book reviews subscribe for just £1 per month!