People are being asked to keep their eyes peeled for a runaway beaver.

The creature is thought to be occupying a mile-long stretch of the River Tamar in the village of Gunnislake after he escaped from an enclosure in Lifton, Devon.

The six-stone rodent broke out more than six weeks ago looking for a mate.

He travelled more than 20 miles, leaving a trail of destruction and felled trees in his wake.

Conservationist Derek Gow keeps 24 beavers at his 120-acre farm, under licence from the Government agency, Natural England.

Mr Gow is a keen advocate of reintroducing beavers into the English countryside.

The creatures have been extinct in this country for 800 years. He thinks the beaver escaped after heavy rains shorted an electric fence at the enclosure.

Two females also escaped and were found.

But the male had other ideas and river-hopped his way to Gunnislake looking for love.

Mr Gow along with Natural England has planted a number of boxes with a female beaver scent in the hope of re-capturing the male.


Beavers were hunted in England during the 12th century for their fur and throat glands, which were thought to have medicinal properties.

Gradually beavers from Mr Gow's farm will be reintroduced into the countryside but the focus for now is on getting the stray beaver back home.