Our work with beavers
RZSS, in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Forestry Commission Scotland, released the first beavers to live in Scotland in over 400 years in May 2009. This marked the first formal reintroduction of a native mammal species in the UK and the beavers were monitored closely for a five-year period between 2009 and 2014.
At the same time, an independent scientific monitoring programme (led by SNH) assessed the effect beavers had on the local environment and local people, with a final report being presented to Scottish Government in June 2015. It is now up to Government to decide what the future holds for the species in Scotland.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in the UK in the 16th century. By modifying their surroundings through coppicing, feeding and, in some cases, damming, beavers create ponds and wetlands which attract other species, provide a food source to others, and can even help improve water quality. For this reason, they are known as a 'keystone' species.
In addition to our work with the Scottish Beaver Trial, RZSS has also undertaken health screening and genetic testing work on beavers in the River Tay and Earn catchments, and continues to provide management advice for landowners experiencing beaver impacts on their land. The Society has also applied its genetics and health screening expertise on the River Otter beavers in Devon.
To learn more about the Scottish Beaver Trial, visit scottishbeavers.org.uk