Belfast Telegraph

CS Lewis misled public over diet of beavers, says writer

CS Lewis
CS Lewis

By Christopher Leebody

An environmental journalist has blamed the Belfast-born author of the Chronicles of Narnia tales for anglers' opposition to re-introducing beavers to the UK.

Speaking at this year's Hay Festival in Wales, Ben Goldfarb - author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter - criticised CS Lewis for giving the misleading impression that beavers eat fish.

Fish-eating Mr and Mrs Beaver are key characters in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Mr Goldfarb said that the impression given to generations of fans had led to real world consequences in attitudes towards the beaver.

The reintroduction of the species is opposed by many anglers who fear they will eat the supply of fish.

Mr Goldfarb said Lewis "totally blew that one" after noting that beavers did not eat fish.

"He said: They're totally herbivorous. That's one of the funny things about beaver reproduction in the UK: every British schoolchild reads Narnia and they grow up thinking that beavers are going to eat all the fish. That is biologically inaccurate.

"They have a few species of tree that they most like - that's willow and the whole poplar family - birch, aspen, cottonwood".

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