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Tay beavers win reprieve

Beaver and kit at Knapdale (Photo: SWT)

Beavers living on the River Tay will no longer be trapped following a U-turn by the Scottish Government. Up until recently Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has been trying to trap the beavers, thought to number around 100, which are living in the Tay catchment area.

Now the beavers will be monitored and a decision on their future will not be made until 2015. This will coincide with the end of the official beaver reintroduction trial at Knapdale, in Argyll, when a decision about the re-introduction of beavers to Scotland in general will be made.

The Tay beavers have been highly controversial with the Scottish Wild Beaver Group campaigning against the trapping policy and some local landowners and anglers’ groups opposed to the continuation of what they see as an illegal re-introduction. A group, to be chaired by SNH, will be set up to monitor the Tay beavers, and advise local landowners on how best to manage the environmental effects of the creatures.

Scotland’s Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson told the BBC that, “There is potential for an important and unwelcome precedent to be set so we must consider environmental and other impacts when we make decisions. After careful consideration of all the various factors, my view is that the best way forward is to allow the beavers to remain in place for the duration of the official trial beaver re-introduction in Knapdale in Argyll. We will take a decision on the future of beavers in Scotland – both those in Knapdale and on Tayside – at the end of the trial period in 2015.”

One of the best places to see the effects of some of the Tay beavers and even try and catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures is from a stretch of the Cateran Trail near Bamff House on the section between Blairgowrie and Alyth.

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