Press release – Argaty Red Kites/Beaver Trust

Argaty Red Kites granted beaver translocation licence

Photo: James Shooter/scotlandbigpicture.com

In a significant policy step, Argaty Red Kites in Perthshire has been granted Scotland’s first edge-of-range beaver translocation licence.

Argaty, a working farm which is home to the award-winning red kite project, has been awarded a licence by the Scottish Government’s nature agency NatureScot for the release of two families and one pair of beavers, without the need for enclosure fencing.

The beavers will be relocated from areas of prime agricultural land in Tayside where lethal control licences have been issued. They will be released on selected ponds at Argaty later this year, supported by the charity Beaver Trust.

European Beaver. Photo: scotlandbigpicture.com

The licence signifies a landmark change in policy from the Scottish Government, which until now has not allowed beavers to be relocated to new areas in Scotland. Translocation of beavers can only take place under strict circumstances by trained experts.

But with existing beaver territories only five miles away from Argaty farm – and dispersing animals likely to arrive naturally in coming years – government ministers and NatureScot have approved the Argaty application.

Tom Bowser, Argaty Red Kites

Tom Bowser, owner of Argaty Red Kites, said: “We are delighted that our application has been approved and cannot wait to bring beavers to our farm. It will be such a thrill to introduce our visitors to these wonderful animals and to witness the beavers’ amazing biodiversity-boosting work.

Obtaining the licence has been challenging, has taken a long time and a lot of hard work, and we hope this will help the process become more streamlined for viable projects in the future.

We want to thank Beaver Trust for supporting the project financially and with technical expertise. We are also grateful to the many hundreds of people who supported our consultations, and to the landowners who allowed beavers to be trapped and removed from their land.

Mark Ruskell MSP, a supporter of the project, said: “I’m delighted that Argaty is to be the first edge-of-range translocation site in Scotland, bringing beavers from Tayside to where they are needed and wanted. Tom Bowser and the team at Argaty deserve huge congratulations for the work they have done to get to this point.

There has been a terrible over-reliance on shooting beavers in recent years. The translocation to the Teith catchment is the most humane option, which will grow beaver populations in the wider area – benefiting the wider environment and enhancing the experience for visitors and locals alike.

Eva Bishop, spokesperson for Beaver Trust – which will be responsible for the translocation of the beavers – said: “We are absolutely delighted for Argaty and Tom’s family farm to have achieved such an important and positive step forward for Scottish beavers and beaver conservation across Britain.

We hope more land managers are inspired by the team at Argaty and are always glad of the opportunity to work supporting viable projects like this one. Translocation is an important tool in the mitigation toolbox if undertaken responsibly, so we are delighted to see this progress.

Beavers were reintroduced in Scotland in 2009 and became a protected species in 2019. They are valued for their impact on ecosystems and abilities as nature’s engineers, slowing the flow of water through river catchments and creating habitats that enable hundreds of other species to thrive.

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9 Replies to “Press release – Argaty Red Kites/Beaver Trust”

  1. Many congratulations Tom and team, fantastic news about notification of the Beaver translocation licence. Best wishes Andy

  2. Excellent news! Let’s hope that the legal ruling in Scotland and the consultation about beavers in England massively increases the speed of reintroductions.
    We’re in a appalling spiral of decline in biodiversity and beavers are one of the best ways (and probably least expensive on a landscape scale) of reversing the decline in wetland areas.
    Well done to all concerned.

  3. And it’s “only” taken 25 years……. NS own admission in response to the Trees for Life judicial review report: “We have been working with partners for 25 years to bring back beavers to Scotland because of the many benefits they bring to both people and nature, particularly in this crucial time of climate emergency.” doesn’t sound much like an emergency response. And all credit to Tom for all the hard work (and Beaver Trust and other support). This is what NS should be supporting – not killing licences

  4. They should be translocated to Ayrshire, on the Rivers Ayr and Irvine. Please, if you live in Scotland, particularly Ayrshire, write to your MSP and demand that we get a SW Scotland reintroduction in those areas. You can do so for free here:
    http://writetothem.com

  5. Argaty is a wonderful place and Tom is not only a genuine conservationist he’s also a bloody nice bloke too. He is extremely loath to speak ill of anybody, he really goes out of way to speak to, and with, people and is incredibly accommodating and conciliatory with others. Has all of that been reciprocated…my arse it has! At bureaucratic and community levels Tom has had a lot of crap to put up with although he’s not that forthcoming with the details. This is a farmer who truly is a conservationist and what moral support and technical support has he received from NFU Scotland or the broader farming community exactly? Well done Tom well deserved, and would Bowsering be a good term for the new practice of translocating beaver to the edge of their existing range?

    1. “Moral and technical support from NFUS” my a*se (if I’m allowed moderator) – sorry, still chortling. And NS are still touting the Trees for Life Judicial Review result and statement from Lady Carmichael that they “had erred in law” – as a vindication of the ScotGov/ NS beaver killing policy. Let’s hope the Greens actually do some shaking up – see Ariane Burgess’ motion to the house……. some hope there if they can actually achieve reform and do more than just ‘face-saving slogans’ (to quote our FM at CoP). Ariane B motion: https://twitter.com/ArianeBurgessHI/status/1458091411950260233/photo/1

  6. Obviously great news, but as i think Les is alluding to, the real test will come when the Scottish government receive an application that will greatly extend the animals range.

  7. This is wonderful news. We were at Argaty a few weeks ago and Lynn didn’t sound confident at that point. They must be over the moon.
    We visited Bamff the day before and to see what beavers have created from what was little more than a dyke is amazing.

    Is it to much to hope for a few of these excellent engineers at our own Snipedales? Probably a dream to far!

  8. This is a great happening. I wrote to NatueScot some time back saying how appalling I thought their policy of lethal control is and asking why translocation could not be carried out.
    It has taken a long time for this message to percolate through some pretty thick NatureScot heads but a last a drop or two seems to have got through.
    I wonder if the Greens in their alliance with the SNP have had some influence?

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