Family of beavers set up home in middle of busy Swiss city

Family of beavers set up home in middle of busy Swiss city

Whether it be the consequence of COVID lockdowns or new green policies by the government, seeing nature take back control of urban areas can be quite beautiful. Now, the Swiss city of Biel / Bienne has been the latest to see nature "return", after a fully formed beaver dam and colony was discovered on the river in the busy centre of town.

Biel / Bienne welcomes two beaver families to city centre

According to the local council (Gemeinde), a number of beavers have found themselves a home in the middle of Biel / Bienne, Canton Bern. Two families of beavers - who are called either a colony or a family - were spotted on the River Schüss (Suze) in the busy Madretsch district of the city. 

Luckily, instead of trying to remove the little critters, authorities in Biel / Bienne saw an opportunity to use the animals to promote biodiversity and prevent flooding from the river and the local lake. They have set to work building up flood defences around the dam the beavers have already created and are now planning what areas are likely to be flooded by the beaver's future projects.

Swiss city offers beaver tours of local river

"Beavers are not only "sweet", but they are also very valuable for biodiversity," the local council told 20 Minuten. “When they raise the water level, they flood certain zones. These zones will then see other bird species and shrubs move in. Beavers are the landscape architects of nature. [Not to mention] the beaver is a protected species."

The furry builders have also gone down well with local tourists, with local entrepreneur Noé Thiel telling 20 Minuten that he now offers guided tours of the river where visitors can try and spot the beavers. “We don't have a lot of land in Switzerland that isn't urbanised. It is therefore logical that the beaver also settles in the city,” he said.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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