Bumper beaver brood as babies born at Knapdale

Monday 6th August 2012

cpt Steve Gardnercpt Steve Gardner

The Scottish Beaver Trial has announced that three young beavers, born earlier in the summer, have now been seen in Argyll's Knapdale Forest.

The three youngsters, known as kits, are the largest number to be born in any year since the trial started, back in 2009.  Trial staff captured footage and still images of the kits on their regular evening watches.

You can watch the footage here:  http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/news/bumper-beaver-brood-as-three-babies-born-at-knapdale/

We are hoping for even more kits this season, at Loch Linne and Lochan Beag.

Scottish Beaver Trial Field Operations Manager Roisin Campbell-Palmer said: 

“All three kits are part of the same family, living on the Dubh Loch, which is part of the Scottish Beaver Trial’s Detective Trail.

“This family has bred every year since release, but only giving birth to one kit each year. Unfortunately last year’s kit didn’t survive.

“So seeing three newly emerged kits is really great news for the Trial because it’s a boost to the beaver population.  We now have 15 beavers at Knapdale, including six who were born at the Trial site.

“We are hoping for even more kits this season, at Loch Linne and Lochan Beag.  The beavers at Loch Linne have also produced kits every year of the Trial so far.

“If the pair at Lochan Beag did produce kits this year, they would be the first for new partners Elaine and Christian.

“These kits will join their family in being effective ecosytem engineers, by creating ponds and wetlands which attract insects and amphibians.

“We hope they will also attract even more visitors keen to get a glimpse of one of the UK’s rarest mammals.

“The Scottish Beaver Trial is boosting the local tourism industry; we have had over 250 visitors on our evening guided beaver walks so far this summer, which continue until the end of August.”

The Scottish Beaver Trial is a five year project to see the impact of beavers in the wild in Scotland.  It is a partnership between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and host partner, Forestry Commission Scotland.

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am pleased to see the beaver trial population thriving with the arrival of three new kits – I look forward to watching their progress in future.”

People’s Postcode Lottery Head of Charities Clara Govier, said:

“This is fantastic news and on behalf of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have supported this ground breaking trial since the start, this is another example of how these beavers given the chance, can settle and breed despite a 400 year absence from the wilds of Scotland.  These furry little creatures can have such a huge benefit to our environment and I’m sure many will watch their progress with interest.”

Notes to Editors
The Scottish Beaver Trial is a partnership project between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and host Forestry Commission Scotland to undertake a time-limited trial reintroduction of the European beavers to Knapdale, Mid-Argyll.  It is part of Scotland's Species Action Framework, which sets out a strategic approach to species management in Scotland.  The Scottish Government has asked Scottish Natural Heritage to coordinate the independent scientific monitoring of the trial, reporting on whether the conditions of the licence are being fully addressed on the ground. For more information visit www.scottishbeavers.org.uk

SNH is working with a number of independent organisations to carry out the monitoring work.  They are Argyll and Bute Council, Argyll Fisheries Trust, Historic Scotland, British Dragonfly Society, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and University of Stirling.  Each organisation is contributing resources towards the monitoring of the trial, along with SNH who is contributing £275,000.  For information about the monitoring go to www.snh.gov.uk/scottishbeavertrial. 

The Scottish Government approved the application of the trial reintroduction in May 2008.  This followed a two-month long consultation period with local residents and key stakeholders.  The results of this consultation showed that 73% of respondents were in favour of the trial reintroduction.

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) serves as the Scottish Government's forestry directorate.  FCS is the host partner in the project and manages the Trial site at Knapdale. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.

Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park are owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), a registered charity, number SC004064.  RZSS was founded by visionary lawyer Thomas Gillespie.  The Society was set up ‘to promote, facilitate and encourage the study of zoology and kindred subjects and to foster and develop amongst the people an interest in and knowledge of animal life’.  RZSS has been involved in several successful species reintroduction programmes in the past.  These include native species, such as the Canna mouse, as well as global initiatives including reintroducing the Socorro dove back to the Socorro Islands, off the Mexican coast. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a registered charity.  It is the largest voluntary body working for all the wildlife of Scotland, representing more than 35,000 members who care for wildlife and the environment.  The Scottish Wildlife Trust seeks to raise public awareness of threatened habitats and species and manages over 120 wildlife reserves Scotland-wide. www.swt.org.uk

Scottish Natural Heritage advises the Scottish Government on conserving, enjoying, understanding and sustainably using our natural heritage.  For further information on SNH, please visit www.snh.gov.uk.

Funding for the Scottish Beaver Trial has been gratefully received from Biffaward.  In 1997 Biffa Waste Services agreed to donate landfill tax credits to the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) to administer under the fund name Biffaward. Grants made from the fund currently amount to £100 million, supporting many worthwhile projects.  Biffa Waste Services Limited is one of the largest single suppliers of waste management services in the UK.  It collects, treats, recovers and disposes of municipal, commercial and industrial waste nationwide.  It is ultimately owned by a private equity consortium comprising Montagu Private Equity, Global Infrastructure Partners, Uberior Co-Investments Limited and other co-investors www.biffaward.org

The project has also received financial support from a range of sources including the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, People’s Postcode Lottery, the John Ellerman Foundation and the Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust.

Tagged with: Species