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A wild beaver has been spotted New York City for the first time since the British were in charge.

The New York branch of the Wildlife Conservation Society has discovered a beaver swimming to its dam on the Bronx River on Wednesday, according to local news station abc7. The lone rodent, a male thought to be between two and three years old, has been named José in tribute to Congressman José Serrano, who campaigned for funding to clean up the waterway.

Beavers were highly prized by hunters in colonial days for their luxurious fur, and traded to near-extinction on the East coast. Despite this, it's the New York State mammal, and appears on the city's official seal.

During the 19th and 20th century, the Bronx River acted as a sewage outlet for the city's booming population, emptying into the tidal East River. $14.5m worth of environmental efforts have seen the waters become more welcoming to recreation and wildlife.

Similar improvements in water quality in London saw salmon return to the Thames in the 1980s to spawn. ®

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