NatureScot has published a new survey demonstrating the spread of beavers into new areas of Scotland, alongside a report on their management.
Responding to this publication, Sarah Robinson, the Trust’s Director of Conservation said: “It’s positive to see beavers are extending their territory into new areas but there are clear barriers to their expansion north, particularly hydroelectric dams. Allowing beavers to be released into suitable areas of Scotland beyond their current range would help to overcome these obstacles, and also create substantial benefits for people and wildlife on a landscape-scale.
“More than two years after beavers were granted European Protected Species status we are still waiting to see a forward-looking national strategy for the species.”
“Beavers have an overwhelmingly positive effect on Scotland’s biodiversity. They can also improve water quality and create new opportunities for wildlife tourism. At the same time, we have to recognise that beavers can have negative impacts, particularly when they are living next to farmland.
“Effective management is vital to ensure that beavers are accepted as part of our native biodiversity. We are concerned however that lethal control is being carried out routinely, rather than as a last resort. We would like to see greater support for non-lethal measures including flow devices and water gates, alongside continued trials of new techniques.
“More than two years after beavers were granted European Protected Species status we are still waiting to see a forward-looking national strategy for the species. Helping land managers to live alongside beavers and allowing the species to spread into new areas of Scotland, where they can create new wildlife-rich habitats, should be a priority for the Scottish Government as it seeks to tackle the urgent crisis facing nature.”