Scottish National Heritage has published the latest report on the reintroduction of beavers into the Knapdale Argyll area. This shows findings up until April 2013, with the final report due to taking findings up until May 2014, which will be published by December of this year.
The trials have been ongoing for the last five years, undertaken mainly by the Scottish Beaver Trial group and supported by the Scottish National Heritage. It has physically been run by Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
The report outlines that out of the 16 beavers that were originally released, 8 were alive and still within the trail area, with 3 males known to be dead and 5 missing. Out with this, 14 wild born beavers were recorded at Knapdale with 5 of these missing.
The groups combined territory covers 423 hectares which relates to one beaver family for each 4km waterway edge. Interestingly, the Scottish National Heritage has found that the beavers have had no negative effect on local otters in the area.
Jane Bryce of Scottish National Heritage has said: “It is essential that any species reintroduction project includes a properly managed and monitored trial. This means that future decisions about extending the trial or moving to full scale reintroduction are based on the best information available. The Knapdale beavers have been monitored since they were released and this work has been independently analysed. The monitoring shows us how the beavers are getting on at Knapdale and improves our understanding of how they behave in a Scottish environment. With the monitoring phase of the trial now complete, the final report due in December will be based on the five years of monitoring. This will contribute to the information provided to Scottish Government on the outcomes of the trial.”
The full report can be found here: http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/commissioned_reports/763.pdf