Scotland welcomes back the beaver – Wildlife Extra questions the cost29/05/2009 09:50:07
Scotland beavers return to the wild
Three beaver families from Norway
Scottish Minister for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, arrived at the trial site this morning to show her support for the project, and assisted with the release of one of the family groups.
Roseanna Cunningham said: "Welcoming beavers back to Scotland marks a historic day for conservation. These charismatic creatures are not only likely to create interest in Scotland from further afield but crucially can play a key role in providing good habitat for a wide range of wetland species. And while a great deal of research has already gone into the reintroduction this work is far from over. Observations and data collection over the next five years will play a crucial role in assessing the long term future for beavers in the Scottish landscape."
Extinct in the UK since 16th Century
Beaver reintroduced to 24 European countries
While Wildlife Extra is delighted and thrilled to see beavers being released back into their natural habitat within the UK, WE believes that the £1 Million price tag is an inordinate amount of money that could have been much better used elsewhere. Beavers are not an endangered species and if it was really necessary to spend that amount of cash on this project, WE believes it was as waste.
Other projects that could have used the cash
- Scottish Wildcats - Just 400 pure bred left in the wild.
Threat to fish?
Time limited trial
"Now that our beavers have been released into the wild, the real work of our trial can begin. First and foremost, this is a scientific study of how the beavers cope naturally in the Scottish environment and what effect they have upon it. We will be closely tracking the beavers' activities and collecting data over the next five years to help inform the independent scientific monitoring, co-ordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage. This will help the Scottish Government in making any final decisions on the future of beavers in Knapdale Forest or elsewhere in Scotland.
Visiting the beaver release site
"Visitors will stand a better chance of seeing beaver signs, and maybe even some beavers, by waiting a few months to make their trip to the trial site. By timing your visit in the early morning or early evening, you will have the best chance of spotting these intriguing animals in the wild."
FCS is the host partner of the Scottish Beaver Trial and believes that Knapdale Forest is an ideal location to carry out the project as it covers a range of important habitats and biodiversity. The trial area is also in the heart of a forest which produces timber and provides recreational facilities for people, making it a suitable place to explore how beavers co-exist with forestry operations and the environment.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is the independent body tasked by the Scottish Government to co-ordinate the scientific monitoring of the trial. SNH will report to the Scottish Government at the end of the trial period and a decision can then be made on the future of the beavers in Knapdale Forest and elsewhere in Scotland. The Scottish Government approved a licence for the release of the beaver families in Knapdale Forest in May 2008, following a two-month long public consultation which showed that 73% of respondents were in favour of the trial. The Scottish Beaver Trial is part of the Species Action Framework.