I heard about this via Ted Oakes on Twitter earlier today. Ted is a BBC Producer of Wildlife programs such as Gordon Buchanan’s popular ‘Family & Me‘ series.
There are two areas in Scotland where Beavers are making a comeback, one where they were re-introduced and another where escaped domestic Beavers have established themselves.
The image above is from the Scottish Wild Beavers Group’s website.
The problem facing the Scottish Beavers is Farmers, many of whom are now apparently shooting Beavers while their legal status is awaiting confirmation. In England the small colony found on the River Otter in Devon have a slightly clearer situation.
The major issue can be read in some detail on The Ecologist blog, which is what the tweet from Ted Oakes alerted me to. There are a number of links to relevant scientific studies in that article.
Put simply Beavers are not a danger to most Farming, save the lowest level farms that are on old flood plains. Indeed Beavers are proven to benefit the ecology of wetlands, granted Human intervention is sometimes required.
In Yellowstone Park the reintroduction of Wolves led to a huge ecological renewal that saw the diversity the National Park supports grow exponentially. Beavers were one of the key species that benefited from the reintroduction of Wolves and added to the rewilding of the area.
It is so shortsighted to not engage with Beavers and help revive our countryside. Fish stocks in rivers and water management can really benefit from Beavers and their dams. Given the levels of flooding we have seen in the UK in the past few years we could use any help we can get with water management.
The situation with these animals shouldn’t be blurred. They are protected by EU Legislation and Domestic Legislation in Scotland, and England separately, should match or better that level of protection.
Please consider signing this petition on Change.Org – ‘Save the Free Beavers of Scotland!‘.