Scottish Wildlife Trust press release

Legal protection for Scotland’s beavers welcomed by conservation charities

The two lead partners in the Scottish Beaver Trial – the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) – welcome the announcement made this morning (23 February) by the Scottish Government that legislation giving beavers legal protection will come into force later this year. 

Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: ‘We are delighted that the Scottish Government has finally given the green light to granting beavers European Protected Status. Legal protection, alongside a suitable management framework, is necessary to ensure we benefit fully from their return and also ensure land managers can deal with localised negative impacts.

The return of beavers to Scotland’s lochs and rivers offers widespread ecological benefits. Beavers are well-known for their engineering prowess, creating wetland havens that provide homes for many other species including fish, insects and waterbirds, while also helping humans by reducing the risk of floods down river. They are also providing a boost to Scotland’s rural economy by increasing wildlife tourism.‘.

Barbara Smith, RZSS Chief Executive, said:The granting of European Protected Status is a vital step in welcoming beavers back to Scotland as a natural part of our ecosystem.

This is a milestone for the many of us who have worked together for years on the return of this species.

Legal protection accompanied by a proper framework for management is critical to ensuring that beavers can be protected and live alongside people long into the future.‘.
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4 Replies to “Scottish Wildlife Trust press release”

  1. The news today announced by Roseanna Cunningham that beavers will be protected from May gives those who have been carrying out the culling to see how many of the reported 430 animal they can kill before May. They have over 2 months. This was always likely to happen, but it is a disappointment that it could not be announced the day before.

    1. Why does it take so long from the announcement to legislation surely it is just the case of adding a name to the protection legislation. There should be a legal assumption that all wildlife is protected unless the law says otherwise.

  2. Sadly I find it hard to be excited about this news. Granting beavers legal protection will only be meaningful if it is some how enforced. As we have seen with raptors, it is far too easy to kill a protected species and get away with it. I simply don't believe that landowners will stop killing beavers just because they are legally protected. The best solution to this problem that I can think of is too make a large percentage of any subsidies that landowners in the Tay catchment receive conditional on them having beavers on their land, or taking active steps to create suitable habitat if it isn't present but could be. Given all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity and flood mitigation this would be a genuine example of public money for public goods.


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