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Issue 42 - Bring back beavers

Scotland Magazine Issue 42
December 2008

 

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Bring back beavers

It looks like beavers will become the first native mammal to be reintroduced to the United Kingdom, if the Scottish Beaver Trial goes according two plan.

Beavers are native to Britain but were hunted to extinction over 400 years ago.

Now, four beaver families have been shipped over from Norway and will have to spend six months in quarantine before being released in Knapdale, mid-Argyll on a time-limited trial basis in spring 2009.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, project partners for the Scottish Beaver Trial, enlisted the help of a specialist team to assist them with the capture of the beaver families, each of an adult pair and between one and three yearlings, after months of tracking in the Telemark region of Norway.

Aspokeseman for the Scottish Beaver Trial said beavers hold the potential to create new wetland habitats which in turn increases the appeal to other native species.

Michael Russell, the Scottish Environment Minister, said: “This is the latest stage in a truly exciting development for wildlifewatchers, not just in Scotland, but around the world.”