"OTTERY ST. MARY, England—When beavers surfaced in the River Otter, Mark Owen smelled a rat.
It had been centuries—probably before poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in this village in 1772—since wild beavers plied the region. In recent years, any local beavers were kept as curiosities or for research, living behind electric fences.
'Nobody, as far as I know, has reported that they’ve lost beavers,' says Mr. Owen, freshwater director of England’s Angling Trust, a sportfishing-advocacy group that wants the rodents removed. His conclusion: 'The beavers were illegally released.'"