A WILD beaver has been filmed in Tayside for the first time, offering further proof the animals are spreading across Scotland.
The rodent was spotted gnawing on a willow tree in undergrowth near Kirriemuir, Angus, by a local angling club last week.
Despite what many believe has been a population explosion among the animals, and evidence of their presence near rivers in Angus and Perthshire, beaver sightings remain rare in the area.
But within days of setting up a camera in undergrowth, Kirriemuir Angling Club chairman Derek Strachan succesful filmed one of the animals.
The footage will fuel the debate over the possible re-introduction of the species in Scotland – and the spread of rogue beavers along Tay system rivers including the Isla and Dean.
Tree surgeon Mr Strachan and angling friends instantly recognised the giveaway signs of damage to trees at the Kirrie club’s Logie pond, south of the town, and last week the creature was caught on camera when it broke cover for several hours between 11pm and 3am.
“This one has just started to make its presence known but it looks like it is going to clear out a lot of willow,” said Mr Strachan.
“The European beavers are not prone to building dams, unlike the American beaver, but they build lodges into the banks and that can lead to some flooding problems.
“In some respects the beavers could be welcome with regard to keeping down some of the foliage, but in the long term it could be a problem because it could remove the cover and affect the environment.
“You have no control over which trees they take and I think some people will be upset by the some of the ones they are going to eat,” he added.
”We noticed there had been something at the pond around late November and I had a camera there from mid-January for a few days, but then moved it to a place where we knew that the beaver had a favourite chewing post on a big willow.
“Through my work I’ve seen evidence of them on the Kerbet at Douglastown and at Dalguise up in Perthshire. The club also has a bit of river on the Isla and there are a lot up there, so it wasn’t a surprise to find one at the pond once there were signs that it was there,” said Mr Strachan.
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