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We're backing beavers

Last modified: 01 July 2015

Wet woodland habitat created by beavers

Wet woodland habitat created by beavers is valuable for many other creatures, too.

Image: Jane Sears

We’ve written to Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, calling for the beaver to be fully reintroduced and recognised by the Scottish Government as a resident, native species in Scotland. 

And we’re not alone – RSPB Scotland is just one member of a coalition of more than 20 Scottish environmental organisations, all calling for beavers to make a comeback.

The group also wants the current wild populations in mid-Argyll and Tayside to be added to, and is pushing for permission for further licensed releases across other appropriate areas of Scotland. 

The organisations, which, combined, represent more than a quarter of a million members, agree that a positive outcome for beavers will help ensure that Scotland continues to position itself at the forefront of international biodiversity conservation. 

A missing ‘keystone’ species

We see beavers as a missing element in Scottish environment. There is both an ecological and moral imperative to restore this ‘keystone’ species to benefit our depleted freshwater ecosystems. 

We also believe that the majority of Scotland’s people are ready and willing to live alongside beavers once again and that this strengthens Scotland’s reputation as a modern society that truly values its environment.

The organisations state that there is now sufficient suitable habitat in Scotland to support a thriving and self-sustaining beaver population. Existing research, and experiences from other European countries, show that beavers can flourish in a wide range of freshwater habitats, and that the restoration of beaver populations would have multiple benefits. 

Beavers would offer a valuable means of restoring freshwater habitats, and increasing the diversity and robustness of ecosystems in the face of threats such as climate change, habitat fragmentation and pollution from surrounding land.

The collective agrees that, as a keystone species in wetland and freshwater ecosystems, the beaver will provide tangible and significant ecological benefits for a wide range of other species through the habitats and ecological niches they create, allowing other species to flourish. 

Helping people and Scotland’s environment

Beaver activity will have a net positive environmental and socio-economic effect on Scotland’s human population and prosperity by providing multiple public benefits such as ecosystem services, including improved water quality, reduced downstream flooding, and increased eco-tourism.

Several public consultations have shown that the majority of people in Scotland support the reintroduction of the beaver and as such this flagship species mobilises support for wider biodiversity action, including ecosystem-scale restoration.

The organisations involved

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
  • Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group
  • Borders Forest Trust
  • Buglife
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • Froglife
  • Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance
  • Highland Foundation for Wildlife
  • John Muir Trust
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Plantlife Scotland
  • Ramblers Scotland
  • Reforesting Scotland
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
  • Scottish Badgers
  • Scottish Raptor Study Group
  • Scottish Wild Beaver Group
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust
  • Trees for Life
  • Woodland Trust
  • WWF Scotland

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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