Beavers backed by new Scottish law
Amilestone decision means that Scotland’s newly re-established beavers have been protected by law since 1 May this year. Announcing the move, Scottish environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said that the importance of beavers to Scotland’s biodiversity is huge.
“However, we recognise that beavers can have a significant impact on farming.. .which is why we have been working closely with farmers and partner agencies to establish management plans, as well as a licensing system for culling when there is no other alternative.”
This protection comes after a decade of beaver reintroduction work in Argyll by partners the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Forestry Commission Scotland. At the same time, beavers released in Tayside without official backing have also thrived, with a population of at least 430 animals in more than 100 active territories. This has led to killing of beavers by some landowners.
Welcoming the move, which was celebrated at a special event organised by the SWT beside the Scottish Parliament on the day protection came into force, RZSS chief executive, Barbara Smith, said that granting European Protected Status to beavers in Scotland is a vital step to welcoming them back.
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