Beaver population growth success

Elements of the management regime for the country’s re-introduced beaver population have been the subject of some controversy – and an on-going court case – but doubling the animals numbers over the past three years is a “conservation success story”, it was claimed yesterday.

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said that the results of the NatureScot survey vindicated the considered approach to beaver management which was in place and showed that the current management framework worked in the interests of beavers and wider biodiversity, whilst limiting the damage to valuable agricultural land:

“The figures indicate that, while the number of beavers controlled under licence remains relatively stable, beaver numbers and beaver territories over the same period have more than doubled.

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“It is clear that the objective of significant population growth through managed reintroduction is being delivered by NatureScot through the current beaver management framework.”

However, in light of the legal challenge to the current last recourse of shooting individuals in areas where there was significant damage to arable land and where trapping had proved unsuccessful, Kennedy said that it was vitally important that that licensed lethal control remained an option when other mitigation measures such as trapping and relocation had failed.

The survey showed that not only had the beaver population doubled to around 1,000 animals, but also that the initial population which had been illegally released on the Tay had now spread to 251 territories stretching from Glen Isla to Dundee, Stirling, Forfar and Crianlarich, and was likely to expand into Loch Lomond in the future.

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