Following the Scottish Government’s announcement in November 2016 to allow beavers to remain in Scotland, we are working with partners to reinforce the beaver population in Knapdale.

Project overview

The Scottish Beavers Reinforcement Project began in 2017 in order to boost the original Scottish Beaver Trial population in Knapdale Forest, mid-Argyll. The project is led by Scottish Beavers, a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is taking place on land managed by Forest Commission Scotland and has been licensed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), which is also coordinating the monitoring requirements at the site.

Beaver feeding on lillies
© Philip Price, lochvisions.co.uk

 

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

 

Latest updates

Click on the button below to read this year’s annual newsletter, which includes updates on the project, new insights from recent beaver research and what we have planned for the coming year.

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 

Return of the native

A short video snapshot of the Scottish Beaver Trial.

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