Report on beavers in Scotland goes to Minister

12 June, 2015

Options for the future of beavers in Scotland have been outlined in a final report sent to the Scottish Government today (12 June) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The “Beavers in Scotland” report, published today, is one of the most thorough assessments ever done for a species reintroduction proposal. It provides a comprehensive summary of existing knowledge about the likely impact of beavers living in the wild in Scotland and options for their management, and sets out four scenarios for Scottish Ministers to consider. These range from full removal of all beavers to the widespread reintroduction of beavers across Scotland.

Ministers asked for the report to help them decide whether to permanently reintroduce beavers to Scotland.

The report draws on 20 years of work on beavers, including information from the Scottish Beaver Trial, a five-year trial reintroduction in Argyll which finished last May; the study of more than 150 beavers living in the wild in Tayside and work on the impact of beavers on salmon and trout and on areas of productive farmland. It also refers to the experiences that many other European and North American countries have had of living with beavers, presents findings on biodiversity and beavers and looks at where they might recolonise if allowed to stay.

Ian Ross, Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage said: “The issues surrounding the potential for beaver reintroduction in Scotland have been the subject of intense investigation and discussion over the last 20 years. Over this time we’ve pulled together a significant amount of information, drawing on international as well as Scottish experience. The scenarios have been developed with a wide range of interested parties from across the land management, conservation and environmental sectors.

“The report sets out the links between the evidence gathered and the risks and benefits of the various options. It also considers management approaches to help mitigate the risks and maximise the benefits, should beavers be permanently reintroduced to Scotland. This comprehensive report will therefore help inform the decision on the future of beavers in Scotland.”

A number of independent scientific studies, reports and reviews on beavers have also been published. The findings are included in the Beavers in Scotland report.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact Nancy Fraser, SNH media & public relations officer on 0141 951 0809 / 0141 951 4488 or nancy.fraser@snh.gov.uk