Today the Minister for the Environment, Stewart Stevenson announced that the Feral Tay Beavers will be allowed to remain and be monitored until 2015 at the conclusion of the current Knapdale Beaver Trial. The Scottish Government will then take a decision on the future reintroduction of Beaver into the whole of Scotland.
A local monitoring group will be set up and chaired by SNH. The group will consist a range of interests and will be charged with monitoring impacts on existing land use activities and gathering information about the animals.
Scottish Land & Estates expressed their disappointment at this news, having argued that SNH and the Scottish Government have a responsibility to remove these unlawful populations of Beaver. We also pointed out that the we have no knowledge of the provenance or disease status of the Tay population and its continued existence undermines the current Knapdale Beaver Trial being carried out at considerable expense and under internationally approved guidelines, by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and others. We remain very concerned that a message has been given to so-called conservationists with private collections of non native species in the UK that criminal releases/escapes will be tolerated by Government. Scottish Land & Estates wish to make it clear that we have no specific evidence that can identify the source of any illegally released Beaver populations in Scotland and that task is a matter for the appropriate authorities. We will continue to support the rights of owners of private collections of non-native species who properly manage their stock and who recognise that these rights come with a responsibility to respect the law of the land and the legitimate interests of other land users.
The Minister helpfully reiterated the Scottish Government’s interpretation of the current legal status of the Feral Beavers, making it clear that they have no protection in law. This leaves it open to landmanagers to use lethal force to control damage caused by Beaver on their land.
We will advise the Minister that we remain willing to assist in the local monitoring project.
Read the full press release here…