Chilly welcome as beavers move to their new home in Perthshire

A family of beavers has been saved from culling and moved to a private family farm in a “moment of wildlife history”.

The move came after the Scottish Government last week announced that it would support translocation of beavers to new areas of Scotland to help boost numbers of the animals.

The Argaty Red Kites centre near Doune said it welcomed two adult beavers and three kits from agricultural land in Tayside, where NatureScot had issued beaver-killing licences to prevent damage to farmland.

Charity Beaver Trust carried out the translocation on Monday after NatureScot approved Argaty’s application to spare the animals and have them moved to select ponds on the Argaty estate instead.

Gently does it: One of the beavers ventures onto the ice at Argaty.

Argaty Red Kites owner Tom Bowser said: “We are beyond thrilled that, by becoming Scotland’s first private site to legally release beavers into the wild, we have been able to save these animals.

“It will be so exciting to see how they enhance biodiversity on our farm.

“Hopefully this moment of wildlife history has helped open the door for more relocations of beavers to areas of Scotland where they are needed and wanted.

Ready, steady, go: This beaver cannot wait for a taste of freedom..

“Prioritising non-lethal management when beavers have impacts on farmland will be a big win for wildlife, farmers, and for our hopes of tackling the nature and climate crises.”

Scottish ministers said last week that they will support translocation, which involves safely trapping and moving beavers to a more suitable area.

In the coming months a further beaver family and an adult beaver pair – also subject to killing licences – will be moved to Argaty, which is a working farm and visitor attraction.

Back in its natural environment

Beaver dams are said to create nature-rich wetlands that benefit many other species, including amphibians, invertebrates and fish, and which also improve water quality, reduce downstream flooding, and soak up carbon dioxide.

Beaver Trust spokeswoman Eva Bishop said: “Beavers can be a vital ally in the fight against biodiversity loss, and responsible translocations are an important tool for allowing Scotland to expand its beaver population while sensitively managing impacts on farmland.”

NatureScot estimate the beaver population in Scotland at between 602 and 1,381 animals, mainly in the Forth and Tay catchment areas.

It found that 115 beavers were killed and 31 relocated elsewhere in 2020.

One of the adult beavers studies its new surroundings.

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