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Watch: Russian breeding scheme 'sees beavers recover from near-extinction'

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By Sinead Barry  with AP
Watch: Russian breeding scheme 'sees beavers recover from near-extinction'
Copyright  AP

A successful breeding scheme in southern Russia has seen the beaver population rise to more than 700,000 from near-extinction less than a century ago.

The Beaver Aquarium was set up in 1924 after the Soviet government prohibited the hunting of the aquatic animal. 

Hunting of beavers in Russia was so commonplace prior to and during the 20th century that the mammals were nearly completely wiped out.

"Most likely it (the threat) happened because of poaching. First the Imperial war, and then the civil war: these were the years of poaching," explains Vladimir Lavrov, lead scientist at the facility. "In these years many kinds of animals were killed, including the beavers."

The facility proved successful when the first beavers were born in the centre in 1934. More than half of the total beaver population alive in Russia today come from this facility, claims Lavrov.

Some of the animals released into the wild were set free with their mates, explained Lavrov. Eurasian beavers are known for mating for life.

Video editor • Alexis Caraco