The Trust is calling for the urgent introduction of legal protection for Scotland’s beavers following the discovery of a dead beaver on a wildlife reserve in Tayside.
Examination of the female beaver showed that it is likely to have died from an infection after being shot in the chest.
Our Chief Executive Jonny Hughes said: “We believe that this animal was shot elsewhere while foraging and then died from its wounds after returning to its home territory. Sadly, this beaver is likely to have suffered a slow and painful death, and the loss of the resident female may mean that the complex network of dams and lodges that have developed on the reserve will be abandoned.
“Without legal protection beavers are subject to unregulated culling. There is no clear picture of how many beavers are being shot or whether this is being done humanely.
“In addition to the significant positive effects that beavers can have on the natural environment, we realise that some localised negative impacts need to be managed. However, lethal control should be used as an absolute last resort and must be carried out humanely.
“To ensure that beavers are allowed to spread throughout Scotland and any negative impacts are properly managed, the Scottish Government needs to begin the overdue process of giving beavers European Protected Species status as quickly as possible.”
According to the most recent survey by Scottish Natural Heritage there are an estimated 430 beavers in Tayside. It is unknown how many have been culled, but reports range from 50 to over 240.