The Scottish Beaver Trial, which is currently conducting the UK’s first ever mammal reintroduction by bringing Eurasian beavers back to Scotland, announced a sighting of five newly born beavers last August (2013).
The baby beavers – known as kits – were seen in the rural district of Knapdale in the Scottish highlands where the trial is taking place. Wild beavers were last found in the UK in Scotland, but they were hunted to extinction in the 16th century.
Although beaver numbers across Europe total around 600,000 due to the creatures being given protected status in the 1920s, the move to bring them back to the UK only began in 2009. There are already small numbers of beavers living in captivity in Britain, but these are carefully tagged and monitored.
Field Operations Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trail, Roisin Campbell-Palmer, said: “The arrival of new kits means that the beavers have bred every year of the Scottish Beaver Trial. We are now attempting to establish exactly how many there are in total – but five have been observed so far.”
Guided tours of Knapdale led by wildlife experts currently take place in the evening, giving visitors the chance to see the new beaver kits as they explore Dubh Loch, home to one of the Trial’s four beaver families.
The Trial, which is a partnership between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland, will end in May 2014. Findings will then be passed onto Scottish Government who will make further decisions over beaver re-introductions in Scotland.