Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Beaver living wild in Fife forest

A BEAVER is living in the wild in Fife ahead of a scheme to reintroduce the species to Scotland.

The animal is thought to have been illegally released or to have escaped from a private collection, but has thwarted attempts to capture it for almost a year.

Gnawed trees gave away its presence last spring but so far it has ignored traps baited with vegetables.

The exact location of the beaver has been kept under wraps by the Scottish Government for fear of it being disturbed by people hoping to spot it, but The Courier understands it is living in Tentsmuir Forest in north-east Fife.

Beavers are to be brought back to Scotland in a joint project by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

It is intended to release four beaver families in Knapdale, mid Argyll, in the spring but releasing beavers into the wild without the necessary licence is a criminal offence.

There are concerns for the Fife beaver as the species usually lives in groups.

The government’s Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture agency has been involved with attempting to catch the animal for the past couple of months, alongside the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

A Scottish Government spokesman said, “When the animal is caught zoos and private collections will be sought to rehouse it.”

He added, “In the case of the planned reintroduction in Knapdale the beavers will have been quarantined and extensively checked for diseases before release.

“We are also aware that as social animals it is cruel to abandon a beaver in the countryside without any chance of finding a mate.

“Most importantly, without the proper planning and consultation which informs reintroduction programmes it is likely that the presence of these animals could cause conflict with local landowners and farmers.”

1 comment:

  1. The animal in your photo is not a beaver. Nor is it closely related to a beaver. It is a marmot, a large ground squirrel - a member of the Sciuridae (squirrels), not the Castoridae (beavers). Not sure of the species - it may be a Woodchuck, Marmota monax. It's a common rodent in North American meadows.


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