© WWF / Chris Martin BAHR
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.
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. At present, more than 1000 beavers live in 2 large areas, namely the Danube-March-Area, and in the Inn-Salzach-Valley.
Beavers are social animals that live monogamously in family groups. Predominantly nocturnal, they do not hibernate, but remain in their dens for weeks at a time.
The beaver prefers slow flowing or stagnant bodies of water rich in riverine vegetation or vast alluvial forests. 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, which lessen 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.