The scientific monitoring period of the Scottish Beaver Trial came to an end in May 2014. In June 2015, Scottish Natural Heritage published the Beavers in Scotland Report.

On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. For more information, please read the joint press release issued by RZSS and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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FAQ: Do beavers transmit disease?

All Scottish Beaver Trial beavers have been quarantined following DEFRA regulations to ensure that they were suitable for release. The beavers were tested for a range of diseases, parasites and bacteria before being released in Knapdale Forest.

All Trial animals are caught once a year and re-tested as part of an annual health check monitoring programme. Water samples are also collected throughout the year from each beaver-inhabited loch for public health water chemistry testing. The risk to the public from these animals appears to be no greater than from any other wild mammal or human in Britain.

What about Giardia?

Giardia lamblia is a parasite that lives in the small intestine of many mammals, including humans and beavers; it is not particularly associated with beavers as a species. The low incidence levels in Norway where there are tens of thousands of beavers are similar to those currently in Scotland. This demonstrates that beavers are unlikely to increase the risk of G. lamblia. (There was one Giardia outbreak in Norway in recent years, near Bergen where there are no beavers).

The Trial population spent a statutory period in quarantine to ensure that they are free from G. lamblia. We intend to work with the local public health department on testing for pathogens.

Regular sampling and analysis of water quality has shown no significant increase in levels of Giardia or Cryptosporidia during the Trial, to date.

 

 

Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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Comments of support

"I welcome the return of beavers to Knapdale. Beavers are fascinating creatures famed for their industrious habits, and their arrival to Knapdale is certainly creating a booming industry for local businesses." - Local businessman Darren Dobson, owner of the Cairnbaan Hotel

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The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust