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European beaver Lorne Gill LGD1439

Beavers were designated as a European Protected Species in May 2019 and are making a comeback in Scotland. Since 2009, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has been hosting the Scottish Beaver Trial, which saw beavers reintroduced to our Knapdale Forest as part of a scientific trial. In recent years, beavers have spread from another population in Tayside and are increasing their range in Scotland.

The Scottish Government actively supports the expansion of the beaver population, but recognises that beavers can cause problems for some land management activities such as farming.

In line with Scotland’s Beaver Strategy, FLS now has a licence from NatureScot to move beavers from areas where they are affecting land management to sites on Scotland’s national forests and land. This work is carried out in accordance with the Scottish Code for Conservation Translocations and is based on advice and support from NatureScot.

The first two sites covered by the licence are within the current range of beavers and have been carefully selected to offer good habitat for beavers and the lowest potential for conflict with neighbouring land managers. However, FLS recognises that beavers may disperse from FLS sites and will liaise with neighbours and NatureScot if this happens. NatureScot manage the Beaver Mitigation Scheme and can provide expert advice on beavers. 

It is the intention of FLS to be involved in more conservation translocations of beavers and work is ongoing to identify additional ‘receptor’ sites. Some of these may necessarily be outwith the current range of beavers and will therefore require FLS to consult at length with communities.

Licence documents

Get in touch

Land managers can contact our wildlife ecologist, Kenny Kortland, to discuss this work.