What would you name a beaver? Beaver McBeaverface? Justin Beaver? Sigourney Beaver?

Cornwall's residents are being asked to Name the Beaver with the launch of a new conservation project by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The trust's Cornwall Beaver Project is aiming to raise funds for its plans, along with Woodland Valley Farm, to bring Eurasian beavers back to Cornwall after being hunted to extinction several hundred years ago.

Farmer Chris Jones, whose land lies upstream of Ladock, a village that has been hit by flooding, plans to release two beavers into a fenced enclosure along a small stream. Experts in dealing with flood risk at the University of Exeter have studied the land, and believe by building dams the beavers will naturally slow the flow of water that could otherwise flood areas downstream.

The researchers will monitor the impact of the beavers on flooding and the quality of water being released, drawing on expertise gained from monitoring the release of Eurasian beavers at a site in Devon. The fenced project hopes to show that beavers can help create new wildlife habitat, make our streams cleaner and crucially, help to reduce flooding.

But to bring the beavers back the Trust needs to raise at least £15,000 over the next six weeks, which they hope to do through a Crowdfunder campaign including their Name the Beaver contest.

Dee Reeves, Cornwall Wildlife Trust trustee, said: “We have two adult beavers, one male, one female, ready and waiting to make Cornwall their home – and they will need names. We have launched the Name the Beaver competition as a bit of fun to help raise funds for the project. For a donation of just £25 our supporters can enter two names. The project team will whittle these down to 10 then we’ll ask the public to vote for their favourites through our Facebook and Twitter pages.”

Farmer Chris Jones said: “We’ve done a lot of work getting the site ready for the first task of installing the beaver-proof fence. This will then be rigorously tested by beaver conservation experts to make sure they will be safe in their new home. I am hoping the beavers will transform the site by digging new ponds and water channels, making it much better for wetland wildlife. I’m expecting to see a lot more frogs, newts, toads and even birds and bats over the coming years. I’d like to thank anyone in advance who can make a donation to this project; it really is one of Cornwall’s most exciting wildlife stories.”

Professor Richard Brazier of the University of Exeter, a hydrologist who is also monitoring the release of beavers in Devon, said: “We have monitored the woodland valley for a year and a half and we understand the flood regime well. We are ready to introduce the beavers and see what they can do to reduce flooding. We expect the beavers will build dams, slow the flow of water and store water, releasing cleaner water onto the land.”

If you would like to make a donation and enter the Name the Beaver competition visit crowdfunder.co.uk/cornwallbeaver

For more information about the project visit cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/beaverproject