Responding to NatureScot’s publication of a survey of beaver numbers in Scotland, Sarah Robinson, Director of Conservation, Scottish Wildlife Trust responds…
After years of wildlife decline in Scotland, the number of beavers in the country has more than doubled over the last three years to around one thousand according to a recent NatureScot survey.
Director of conservation at Scottish Wildlife Trust says, “It’s positive to see beavers are extending their territory into new areas but there are clear barriers to their expansion north, particularly hydroelectric dams. Allowing beavers to be released into suitable areas of Scotland beyond their current range would help to overcome these obstacles, and also create substantial benefits for people and wildlife on a landscape-scale.
“Beavers have an overwhelmingly positive effect on Scotland’s biodiversity. They can also improve water quality and create new opportunities for wildlife tourism. At the same time, we have to recognise that beavers can have negative impacts, particularly when they are living next to farmland.
“Effective management is vital to ensure that beavers are accepted as part of our native wildlife. We are concerned however that lethal control is being carried out routinely, rather than as a true last resort. We would like to see greater support for non-lethal measures including flow devices and water gates, alongside continued trials of new techniques.
“More than two years after beavers were granted European Protected Species status we are still waiting to see a forward-looking national strategy for the species. Helping land managers to live alongside beavers and allowing the species to spread into new areas of Scotland, where they can create new wildlife-rich habitats, should be a priority for the Scottish Government as it seeks to tackle the urgent crisis facing nature.”
Read the full report (HERE)