For many years now, a population of beavers has been established in the River Tay catchment. A recent monitoring programme showed that these beavers are the native Eurasian species, the one that was present in Scotland before human actions made it extinct, and that they were free from any problematic diseases. Nonetheless, their future is uncertain, since the Scottish Government doesn’t recognise reintroduced species as native and the Tay beavers could theoretically be removed by them at any point.
Later this year, the Minister for the Environment, Dr Aileen McLeod, will make her decision on the way forward for beavers in Scotland. The Scottish Government made an excellent decision in 2012 to tolerate and monitor the Tay population. The next step would be for the Minister to confirm that the beavers are covered by the European Habitats Directive, which they qualify for by dint of being ‘established in the wild’ and ‘in their natural range’. This would protect them from removal and persecution.
River catchments managed by beavers have been shown to have more fish, more biodiversity, less flooding and less pollution than those which aren’t. We spend millions to achieve these things but beavers do them for free. There can also be conflicts between beavers’ and humans’ plans, but countries where beavers live have found relatively cheap and simple ways of managing these problems; we don’t see why Scotland should be unable to do likewise.
Please write to your MSP and/or Dr McLeod, telling them that you appreciate the return of the beaver to Scotland and you support the decision to include the Tay beavers under the European Habitats Directive. Please be positive: the Scottish Government has made the right decisions so far and we want to encourage them to continue in the same direction. It doesn’t have to be a long letter.
The Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform is Aileen McLeod:
You can write to your local MSP (and all your regional MSPs) using Write To Them.
Find out more at: http://scottishwildbeavers.org/