The partner organisations behind the Scottish Beaver Trial (SBT) – the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust– today published their final report on this groundbreaking project that saw the first ever official trial mammal reintroduction into the UK.
Commencing in spring 2009 in the Knapdale Forest, mid-Argyll, the scientific monitoring period of the Trial ended in May 2014. This report documents the entire process of the Scottish Beaver Trial, from the licence application through the release of the beavers and to the end of the monitoring period. It also examines the process objectively and the learning experiences from the reintroduction.
Last month, Scottish Natural Heritage also published six of the independent scientific monitoring reports that will be used for a Ministerial decision on the future of beavers in Scotland.
Project Manager of the Scottish Beaver Trial, Simon Jones, said:
“The Scottish Beaver Trial Final Report documents every part of the reintroduction process. If there are any further reintroductions of beavers to Scotland, our story will prove to be essential reading. Beavers have never been legally reintroduced to Scotland before, for that reason, this report records the various lessons learned by the Scottish Beaver Trial team during the course of the project.”
Field Operations Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial, Roisin Campbell-Palmer, said:
“A very special Trial, the Scottish Beaver Trial allowed for groundbreaking research and thorough monitoring taking place in Knapdale over the five year period. We hope our findings and learnings will form a template for similar future reintroduction projects across the UK and beyond.”
In 2013, the groundbreaking Scottish project was named ‘Best Conservation Project in the UK’ by BBC Countryfile magazine.
The carefully managed and monitored Trial has helped to understand how the beavers behave in a Scottish environment and during the five year period the Scottish Beaver Trial became a tourist attraction for visitors to the Argyll area
The findings of the Trial will help advise informed decisions to be made about the future of the species. The future of beaver reintroduction is ultimately up to the Scottish Government with a Ministerial decision expected in the second half of 2015.