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Bringing Back the Beaver

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What to expect

A bold new voice in nature writing, from the front lines of Britain’s rewilding movement

Bringing Back the Beaver is farmer-turned-ecologist Derek Gow’s inspirational and often riotously funny firsthand account of how the movement to rewild the British landscape with beavers has become the single most dramatic and subversive nature conservation act of the modern era. Since the early 1990s – in the face of outright opposition from government, landowning elites and even some conservation professionals – Gow has imported, quarantined and assisted the reestablishment of beavers in waterways across England and Scotland. 

In addition to detailing the ups and downs of rewilding beavers, Bringing Back the Beaver makes a passionate case as to why the return of one of nature’s great problem solvers will be critical as part of a sustainable fix for flooding and future drought, whilst ensuring the creation of essential lifescapes that enable the broadest possible spectrum of Britain’s wildlife to thrive. 

Critics Review

  • ‘In characteristic punchy style, Derek Gow has given us the full saga of beaver reintroduction to the UK. Throughout a shameful tale of ministerial ignorance and dithering, Derek has charted his own remarkable role in ensuring this vital keystone species is restored to our wetlands. The book is a triumph of determination over bureaucratic obfuscation, an essential read for everyone interested in nature conservation.’—Sir John Lister-Kaye, OBE, naturalist and nature writer

  • ‘Beautifully written, passionate, blunt, uncompromising and very, very funny; not many books make me laugh out loud, but this one had me in stitches. Derek Gow is a man after my own heart, with no interest in diplomacy, but with single-minded determination and a clear vision: to bring beavers back, and to bring nature back, to Britain.’—Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale and The Garden Jungle

  • ‘Derek Gow might be the most colorful character in all of Beaverdom – a wry, profane truth teller who is equal parts yeoman farmer, historical ecologist, and pirate. Bringing Back the Beaver is a swashbuckling saga whose banks overflow with semi-legal hijinks, ribald jokes and hard-won scientific insight. It’s also a keen lament for the nature we’ve stamped out, and an impassioned ode to rewilding that will inspire Beaver Believers in Britain and beyond.’—Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager

  • ‘Derek Gow assails officialdom in this unsparing and funny memoir, recounting the long struggle to bring wild beavers back to Britain. A witty and passionate guide, he’ll have you rooting for the rodents from page one, but the real stars of the story may be the colorful characters working on their behalf, including the author himself. Highly readable and highly recommended.’—Thor Hanson, author of Buzz

  • ‘The UK is amongst the world’s most wildlife depleted countries, in spite of the fact that we have over three million nature-loving voices. Caring is not enough – where we have failed is in making that caring count. One man – Derek Gow – stands out for sheer results. His is the brilliant story of pragmatic rewilding – the inspiring tale of returning an animal that will joyously reverse the fortunes of our waterways, birds, butterflies and every other animal kingdom in the decades to come.’—Benedict Macdonald, author of Rebirding, winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize

  • ‘This authentic, impassioned manifesto-cum-memoir will hopefully have a major impact on what is likely to be a long-running controversy.’–The Spectator

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