Beavers in Scotland

Source:, photo by Per Harald Olsen
Since almost four hundred years there are no longer any beavers living in the wild in Great Britain. Now, four Norwegian beaver families have been released in a remote area in Scotland.
The beavers will be monitored for the next five years and then it will be decided whether beavers will be released on a larger scale.

The beavers were released in the forests near Argyll, a remote area in the west of Scotland. To provide the beavers with housing, boroughs have been created. Experts from Wales hope to follow the Scotland example soon. The Scots and Welshmen are advised by a beaver expert from Norway. Beavers can not just be released into the wild because people find that a nice or good idea. Therefore the animals are first released into an isolated area and will be observed for five years.

There are two important reasons to reintroduce the beavers. Firstly, tourism. At least one beaver group will receive regular guided visits from nature lovers. This will generate some income for the local economy. Secondly, there is an ecological reason. Beavers thin out forests around lakes, streams and rivers. More sunlight is then able to reach the ground and the floral and herbal vegetation becomes more varied.

The last time a beaver was spotted in Great Britain was in 1526. The animals were shot for their fur. In Wales the beavers have been extinct since the twelfth century. In the Netherlands the animals became extinct in the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1988, however, forty-two beavers were released into the Dutch Biesbosch and the population is growing steadily.
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