The beaver was originally the largest rodent in Europe, from France to Northern Mongolia, and from Northern Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was close to extinction.

The beaver population was re-introduced in Austria, from 1976 to 1982, and approximately 45 beavers were released into the Danube-Morava-Floodplains. At present, more than 1000 beavers live in 2 large areas, namely the Danube-Morava-Area, and in the Inn-Salzach-Valley.

Despite the populations recovery and its re-introduction, the beaver remains endangered in Central Europe. In large areas of the Danube River Basin, it is still absent. The lifestyle of a beaver requires water areas close to riverbanks, which until now have conflicted with human land-use, a struggle for survival that the beaver not can win alone.

Beavers are social animals that live monogamously in family groups. Predominantly nocturnal, they do not hibernate, but remain in their dens for weeks. At about 2 years of age, the sexually mature young beavers leave the lodge and migrate up to 100km away, to a new territory.

Their way of chopping down trees is the most well known trait of the beavers. Trees are food, as well as construction material for its spacious “castles”. These beaver-constructed-dams are water level regulating, lessening the effects of floods and droughts on smaller rivers. The living space of a beaver, which in turn provides a habitat for several other animal and plant species, is a labyrinth of dams and canals. When the trees fall into the water, new structures form along the banks, providing a new habitat for countless animals.


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WWF staff

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Location: Bulgaria


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beaver | Austria