Experts from the UK’s first licensed trial reintroduction of beavers – the Scottish Beaver Trial – have released footage of a new beaver kit at Lochan Buic in the Knapdale Forest of Argyll.
This is the first young beaver – known as a kit – to be spotted at the Trial site this year. The Scottish Beaver Trial partners suspect further breeding has occurred but is yet to be captured on camera following the end of the scientific monitoring period.
The Scottish Beaver Trial is a partnership led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. It is hosted in Argyll by Forestry Commission Scotland. It is the first licensed trial reintroduction of a mammal to the UK and has brought the beaver back to Scotland after a 400-year absence.
Field Operations Manager of the Scottish Beaver Trial, Roisin Campbell-Palmer, said: “It is fantastic news that evidence of continued breeding at the trial site is occurring. Though the monitoring period has officially ended, our education ranger is still in place carrying out guided walks, delivering the education programme and keeping an eye on beaver activity. This footage shows a recently emerged kit, in good body condition, investigating the top of the lodge where it lives.
“During the spring and summer, beavers are more active while it is still light so there is a greater chance for people to see them in the wild. Our guided walks are still running, where you can learn all about these fascinating animals. These are fantastic for connecting children with nature and are enjoyed by visitors to the area who deliver a much-needed boost for the local economy in Argyll.”
The trial finished in the spring this year. Options for the future of beavers in Scotland have been outlined in a substantial and detailed report by Scottish Natural Heritage which considered the results of the trial, a study of more than 150 beavers living in the wild in Tayside and other beaver projects. It was sent to the Environment Minister for consideration in June and a decision is expected later in the year.
During the five year period, the Scottish Beaver Trial has engaged almost 3 million people about beaver ecology through a combination of outreach work, television appearances, educational programmes and site visits. The scientific monitoring required 11,817 hours of fieldwork, with activities including beaver tracking, lodge surveillance and water sampling.
Throughout the summer, the Scottish Beaver Trial is running guided walks from the Barnluasgan Visitor Information Centre at 6.00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bookings can be made by contacting the Scottish Beaver Trial Education Ranger on 01546 603 346.