England’s Lionesses inspired a whole new generation of footballers following their resounding Euros win.
But the team has also provided inspiration to a more unique set of youngsters.
Two new baby beavers have been named in honour of players Alessia Russo and Ella Toone.
The adorable animals, who live at the Holnicote Estate in Somerset, were born this spring.
The National Trust had appealed for name ideas following England’s history victory at the Women’s Euros.
Fans suggested footie inspired names via the charity’s Twitter feed with suggestions including other squad members (Chloe) Kelly, (Fran) Kirby, (Jill) Scott plus Lion and Ness.
Even names ‘Sweet’ and ‘Caroline’, after the Neil Diamond song which became the team’s anthem, were put forward.
Russo and Toone now join a small furry army of young beavers.
They will help create and maintain vital wetland habitats to help keep water in the landscape in periods of drought, and also hold water to help prevent flooding in periods of extreme rainfall
Russo and Toone are siblings to Rashford which was the name chosen after the men reached the final of the Euros last summer.
Born in 2021, he was the first beaver born on Exmoor in 400 years.
Ben Eardley, project manager at Holnicote, said: ‘We chose these names as a fitting tribute to the Lionesses win.
‘Over the next few months we’ll be able to track their development and witness how they can help us with our conservation work, in particular building more resilience into our landscapes to help mitigate the consequences of extreme weather like the drought conditions we are currently experiencing.
Beavers were once an important part of the ecosystem but became extinct in the UK in the 16th century due to hunting for their fur, meat and scent glands.
They are seen as natural engineers who restore wetland habitats through dam-building.
The popular semi-aquatic mammals are making a return to the country in a number of areas as wildlife initiatives continue.
Ben added: ‘Despite the mercury rising once again this week, due to the clever dam building these mammals have done since their introduction which has helped slow the flow of water through the catchment, the pools they have created are still relatively high which means the wildlife which has been attracted to them such as frogs, reptiles, moorhens and are still thriving despite the challenging conditions.’
‘These beaver engineered wetlands also have the potential to help raise local groundwater levels and develop a more resilient river catchment to benefit people too.’
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