Beavers are back!

In November 2016, the Scottish Government announced that beavers would be given protected status in Scotland.

This milestone moment marked the first successful reintroduction of a mammal in the UK. It was the culmination of nearly two decades of work by organisations including the Scottish Wildlife Trust through the Scottish Beaver Trial.

What’s next?

Now that beavers are back for good, the population at Knapdale needs to be reinforced. Whilst the beavers that were released as part of the Trial are healthy, further releases are needed at the site to increase the gene pool, ensuring that the population remain’s healthy and resilient in years to come.

In October 2017, a further three beavers were released into Knapdale as part of a three year reinforcement project. Further releases have taken place in spring 2018.

If you would like to help ensure that beavers really are back for good, click here.

About the Scottish Beaver Trial

In May 2009, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland, released the first wild beavers in Scotland in over 400 years. The Scottish Beaver Trial was one of the largest field trials of its kind in Europe and aimed to help the Scottish Government make an informed decision on the future of the species in Scotland.

An independent scientific monitoring programme was carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage to assess the effect that the trial population had on the local environment and how well they settled in Scotland. This evidence contributed to a comprehensive report on Beavers in Scotland, which was published and presented to the Scottish Government in 2015.

The beaver families are now well settled in Knapdale Forest, Mid-Argyll and following the decision to allow beavers to stay in Scotland, we are working to reinforce the population to ensure their long term future.

Why reintroduce beavers?

Eurasian beavers are a native species to the UK, but they were hunted to extinction in the 16th Century. They are one of the world’s best natural engineers, with an incredible ability to create new wetlands, restore native woodland and improve conditions for a wide range of species including dragonflies, otters and fish.

The return of beavers can also boost wildlife tourism. Knapdale’s beavers have attracted visitors from around the world, bringing social and economic benefits to the area.

Visit Knapdale Forest

Knapdale Forest is west of Lochgilphead in the Heart of Argyll. A Beaver Detective Trail leads past felled and regenerating trees, stripped branches with teeth marks and beaver canals. The beavers are most active at night so visit in the early morning and evening for the best chance to see them. We recommend that you start your visit at Barnluasgan Information Centre.

Find out more about visiting Knapdale 

Beaver feeding on lillies
© Philip Price,


Aerial view of Dubh Loch © Upper Cut Productions
An aerial view of Dubh Loch in Knapdale © Upper Cut Productions


Return of the native

A short video snapshot of the Scottish Beaver Trial.

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