The Elbe beaver (Castor fiber albicus) is the only autochthon beaver subspecies in Central Europe. At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century the beaver’s last refuge was near the middle Elbe (today’s Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve) where a small population of around 200 to 400 were able to survive. Based on the annual data collected by the Beaver Conservation Research Group for Saxony-Anhalt, the Reference Point for Beaver Conservation in Saxony-Anhalt and the Lower Nature Conservation Authority, there is a good prognosis for the development of its numbers. Currently the state has a population of around 2,500 beavers (Heidecke 2011, unpubl.) with 1,200 beavers living on Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve. The Elbe beaver is one mammal which Germany is working hard to preserve (Boye 2011).
Since November 2002 the administration at Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve has taken on the role of reference point for beaver conservation in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. This role focuses on the following tasks: