The first baby beaver born on Exmoor for 400 years has been named Rashford, after the England football star Marcus.
The youngster was captured on camera swimming with his mum at the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset, where beavers were introduced in January 2020. to a 6.7-acre enclosure in January 2020.
The move to name him after the Manchester United striker and anti-hunger campaigner came after a public poll, in which more than 500 options for a name were suggested.
Names for the kit (the term for a young beaver) were put to a vote on social media after being narrowed down to four options by rangers at Holnicote.
Some 2,800 people took part in the ballot, with half the votes placed for ‘Rashford’ in honour of the footballer, who suffered racial abuse online after missing a penalty in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final defeat.
The name Banksy, after the artist who hails from the region, came in second place with 17% of the vote, while Hope and Pip both scored 16%.
Rashford – whose mum is called Grylls and his dad Yogi captured public hearts when a static camera filmed him swimming with his mother back to the family lodge, while she stopped to nibble a branch.
Ben Eardley, project manager for the National Trust on the Holnicote Estate, said: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed with the interest in the latest addition to our beaver family.
‘It’s fantastic that so many people are just as excited as we are that our project to reintroduce beavers to this special landscape has been such a success.’
Marcus Rashford won hearts and minds for his campaigns against poverty, which forced the government into a U-turn on free school meals.
There was also an outpouring of backing for the striker after he was racially abused having missed a spot kick in England’s penalty shoot out defeat to Italy last week.
Mr Eardley continued: ‘Rashford is a brilliant choice for this new addition to the family – and reminds people of a moment in this country’s footballing history after an amazing tournament for the England team.
‘The kit, the first to be born on Exmoor in 400 years, gives us hope for future generations.’
Beavers used to be native in Britain but were hunted to extinction for their fur, glands and meat in the century.
But now the popular semi-aquatic mammals are making a return to the country in a number of areas.
They are seen as natural engineers who restore wetland habitats through dam-building.
The animals provide further environmental benefits by slowing, storing and filtering water in the landscape, which attracts other wildlife and reduces flooding downstream.
Public votes on names have not always turned out quite as successfully for some organisations, with one vessel infamously being called Boaty McBoatFace after a different poll
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