Beaver family given green light for Loch Lomond move

A family of beavers have been approved for a move from Tayside to Loch Lomond.

RSPB Scotland’s request to relocate the animals has been accepted by NatureScot, meaning they will be relocated to Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve (NNR).

The project was made possible by changes in Scottish Government policy to support the expansion of the beaver population in Scotland.

This is the third new site approved for the release of beavers.

The first reintroduction trial took place at Knapdale in Argyll in 2009, followed by the successful release of a family at Argaty near Doune last year.

RSPB Scotland has welcomed the changes that allow it to support the expansion of the beaver population by moving the animals to new suitable wetlands.

In the past, farmers have expressed anger over the damage beavers cause to their land.

In its application to licensing agency Nature Scot, RSPB Scotland said it wanted to provide a suitable site to translocate beavers that would otherwise be “lethally controlled”.

He believes that beavers will improve habitats and species diversity, which is also linked to the Scottish Government’s biodiversity strategy.

Translocation involves trapping and safely moving beavers to the most appropriate area. Now that the permit has been granted, the beavers will be captured from their current location, where they could negatively impact prime farmland.

They will undergo a series of health checks before their release to Aber Burn, which is expected to take place early in the new year.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management at RSPB Scotland, said: “We are incredibly delighted to be able to provide a home for these amazing animals.

“Loch Lomond NNR is an ideal home for beavers with marshes, open water and wet woodland habitat to explore.

“Beavers are nature’s wetland creators capable of creating and managing habitats in ways we could never hope to achieve.

“We look forward to seeing the benefits that beavers bring to wider biodiversity, including wetland amphibians, fish and birds, as well as our visitors who will hopefully see some of their work. engineering over the next few years.”

NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, said the proposed release site proved to be very suitable for beavers.

An environmental report points out that beavers have been present in the basin since at least 2019 and are likely to colonize it more naturally.

“Speed ​​up the process”

The agency believes that speeding up the process of natural colonization by releasing beavers will help improve population and genetic diversity, providing a wide range of nature benefits in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

Donald Fraser, Head of Wildlife Management at NatureScot, said: “Beavers are ecosystem engineers, creating habitats such as ponds and wetlands where other species thrive, while moderating streams. water and improving water quality.

“In doing so, they are playing an important role in helping to restore biodiversity and respond to the climate emergency in Scotland.

“This decision will allow beavers to be trapped and removed from highly productive agricultural land, and introduced to an ecologically suitable site within their current natural settlement area where they are expected to provide a range of benefits.

“We know that beavers can sometimes cause problems, and we acknowledge the concerns raised by some through the engagement process.

“We are committed to working with RSPB Scotland, local communities and stakeholders to develop an effective monitoring and management plan that aims to minimize the negative impacts of beavers and maximize the benefits and opportunities of beaver restoration. “

Beaver

It is estimated by NatureScot that Scotland’s beaver population is around 954, with 254 territories.

NNR is managed in partnership by RSPB Scotland, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and NatureScot.

Eurasian beavers are native to Britain and were once widespread in Scotland, but became extinct in the 16th century, mainly due to hunting for fur, meat and “castoreum” – a castor oil used mainly in perfumes – but also because of the loss of wetland habitat.

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