With all the depressing news at the moment, it is good when we do have something positive to cheer about, and I was delighted to hear the news that the Scottish government has granted Scotland’s first edge-of-range beaver translocation licence to Argaty in Perthshire – an environmentally sensitive farm already home to the award winning Argaty Red Kite Project.
The beaver was reintroduced to Scotland in 2009. Until now, the Scottish government has not allowed relocation to new areas of the country. Unfortunately, at the same time as finally introducing legal protection for these crucial ecosystem engineers in 2019, they also issued licences to certain landowners which allowed them to kill beavers and remove their dams.
While I can understand the concerns of some farmers over beavers, I have long favoured relocation where mitigation is not considered acceptable. This translocation licence allows beavers to be removed from areas where they are deemed a problem in Tayside and moved to where they are needed and wanted.
The shooting of beavers must end, and this is a small step forward which, I hope, will make it easier for other sites to obtain translocation licenses in future.
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.”
Anyone interested in more about the background to this story should check out this great article which outlines the issues involved, and perhaps sheds more light on why this is a very positive piece of news.