Road clo­sure blamed on lo­cal beaver res­i­dents.

Traf­fic dis­rup­tion caused as gnawed tree falls across road

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMIE BUCHAN jabuchan@the­

Busy beavers have caused traf­fic dis­rup­tion in east Perthshire.

A tree with a vis­i­bly gnawed trunk came crash­ing down on the A94 near Coupar Angus yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

The busy route was closed for about an hour while coun­cil crews used a dig­ger to clear the car­riage­way.

The tree was on a patch of land at the edge of town that runs along­side Coupar Burn. The area was re­cently the fo­cus of a ma­jor restora­tion project.

A pho­to­graph taken by a passer-by shows ap­par­ent dam­age caused by beavers near where the tree split.

Traf­fic was di­verted through the town dur­ing the road clo­sure.

A re­cent study re­vealed a surge in the num­ber of wild beavers in Perthshire.

Beavers fell trees to eat the tips and bark from the up­per branches and for use in dam or lodge con­struc­tion

The num­ber of crea­tures de­scended from il­le­gally-re­leased an­i­mals has grown con­sid­er­ably in the last six years.

Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage (SNH) found that 430 beavers are now liv­ing in the river catch­ment area.

Farm­ers say they cause dam­age to the agri­cul­tural econ­omy and their dams can lead to flood­ing in the fields.

Beavers started ap­pear­ing in Tay­side about 12 years ago and there have been calls to give them pro­tected sta­tus as na­tive an­i­mals.

An SNH spokesman said: “Beavers fell trees to eat the tips and bark from the up­per branches and for use in dam or lodge con­struc­tion.

“They mostly pre­fer smaller stems, less than 0.2m in di­am­e­ter, but can some­times use larger trees. Oc­ca­sion­ally this can in­clude trees near to roads or res­i­den­tial prop­erty.”

He said: “We ad­vise any­one who sees a beaver-gnawed tree that looks un­sta­ble and could be dan­ger­ous to con­tact the landowner or the lo­cal au­thor­ity. Ad­vice and sup­port on how to pro­tect in­di­vid­ual trees from beaver felling is avail­able from SNH.”

Around 430 beavers live in the area.

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