Megan McCubbin has always been fascinated with wildlife – a passion that was nurtured by her stepfather Chris Packham when she was just a toddler.
“I grew up outside I was very much kind of that wild child who was given the freedom to go and explore and see what I could find under logs,” the zoologist and TV presenter tells HELLO! “It was always educational and we were either at a museum or out exploring and dissecting animals we found, so there was never a dull moment.”
Now Megan, 28, who co-hosts BBC2’s Springwatch, Autumwatch and Winterwatch with Chris, is turning her attention to one of her favourite animals – the beaver. In her role as an ambassador for The Beaver Trust, she is helping to restore Britain’s beaver population, which was hunted to extinction 400 years ago.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the team trying to give beavers a bit of extra love,” she says. “Beavers have such a huge impact on our environment and they are fundamental in managing the landscape. They are large aquatic rodents and they’ve got the most remarkable teeth, which are orange because they are coated in iron enamel. If you put them into a wetland ecosystem, they can gnaw through very woody plants and create dams, which help minimize drought and flooding, which is of course critical as we're looking down the barrel at the climate crisis.”
The Trust moves beavers from locations where they are more abundant, such as other parts of Europe, and also works to raise awareness about how important they are.
“Beavers are really cool animals and have lots of charisma and character,” Megan continues. “They're an easy animal to fall in love with but my fascination is with the role that they can play. It's amazing how one species has an impact on a habitat. And for me, putting beavers back is an absolute no-brainer.
“Beavers have been like a missing piece for a long time and now we are putting them back into the ecosystems where they originally belong, we're starting to see the benefits of that. Just the other week, beavers were reintroduced to Ealing in London. It’s fantastic to see them back where they belong.”
Donate by searching for The Beaver Trust at biggive.org