Call to man­age beaver num­bers

The Scotsman - - Weather Farming -

A new re­port is­sued by Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage (SNH) has re­vealed that beaver num­bers have al­most tre­bled in one of the Scot­land’s prime agri­cul­tural ar­eas.

But head­lines that farm­ers were call­ing for a cull of beavers in the Tay­side re­gion were yes­ter­day branded sen­sa­tion­al­ist – and NFU Scot­land said that it was work­ing closely with SNH to find a way for­ward – adding that all prac­ti­cal mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures should be tested to al­low beavers and farm­ers to co­ex­ist.

The study es­ti­mated that around 430 beavers now lived in over 100 ac­tive beaver ter­ri­to­ries across Tay­side – while 2012 fig­ures put beaver num­bers across the re­gion at about 150 in 40 ter­ri­to­ries.

Jon­nie Hall, direc­tor of pol­icy for NFU Scot­land, said the re­port con­firmed what farm­ers had feared since the an­i­mals had been re­leased il­le­gally in the area some years ago.

But he added that the is­sue was not only about num­bers – but about the im­pact which the an­i­mals were hav­ing on very pro­duc­tive agri­cul­tural land:

“Those im­pacts from beavers have to be man­aged, and we are work­ing closely with SNH to find con­struc­tive ways for­ward.”

Hall said that what might be seen to be a con­ser­va­tion suc­cess story had to be set against “real and sig­nif­i­cant” agri­cul­tural dam­age in some ar­eas.

“Ul­ti­mately we need ef­fec­tive man­age­ment pro­to­cols in place and that means test­ing all prac­ti­cal mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures and mak­ing sure that they work ef­fec­tively to en­able beavers to co­ex­ist within the farmed land­scape, rather than have beavers im­pose on farm­ers what they can and can’t do.”

Nick Halfhide, SNH’S direc­tor of sus­tain­able growth ad­mit­ted that in some parts of Scot­land, beavers could cause prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas with prime agri­cul­tural land:

“So we are set­ting up a mit­i­ga­tion scheme…to de­velop and trial tech­niques to help farm­ers deal with any prob­lems they en­counter.”

It is es­ti­mated there are now 430 beavers liv­ing in 100 ter­ri­to­ries across Tay­side

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.