Commenting on today’s announcement regarding beaver translocations outwith their current range in Scotland, Dr Helen Taylor, conservation programme manager at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said, “After helping to bring beavers back to Scotland in the first ever official successful reintroduction of a mammal to Britain, we have been pushing for increased geographic flexibility on translocations to help beaver populations spread into new areas where they can have greater positive impact and avoid conflict with humans.
“This is a really significant step forward for a species that can play a really valuable role in our natural ecosystems, with dam-building behaviour increasing wetland habitat and benefitting a whole host of wildlife. The return of beavers to Scotland after 400 years is an extremely powerful symbol of what can be achieved in restoring our human-damaged landscapes.
“As they have such an incredible impact on their local environment, increasing beaver populations can also be challenging and it will take time to find ways of living and growing our food alongside beavers. We must also learn from other countries where humans and beavers have lived together for many years. Certain locations are definitely more suitable for beaver reintroductions than others, and this policy shift will hopefully allow suitable sites for translocation to be carefully and thoughtfully selected.
“Ultimately, conservationists, scientists, decision makers, and landowners will all need to continue to work together to ensure that Scotland reaps the benefits of having these wonderful creatures back in our natural environment. The Scottish Beaver Forum and the Scottish Beaver Management Strategy planning group will be integral to a responsible and sustainable expansion of the beaver population in Scotland and we are proud to be active members of both groups.”
Scottish Beavers was a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Scottish Wildlife Trust created to continue the work of the Scottish Beaver Trial, which reintroduced Eurasian beavers into Knapdale Forest in 2009.
The reinforcement took place at the site of the original Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale Forest, mid-Argyll, on land managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, with support from Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation. The project was licensed by NatureScot, which coordinated the monitoring requirements at the site and funded the trapping of beavers in Tayside for translocation.
The Scottish Beavers Reinforcement Project was supported by funders, including players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
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